Week 127

Igor joined a lunch with the top management of a German bank recently to provide some insights about mobile payment and customer-centric products.

When it comes to money – or more precisely – to spending money, we want to think about it as little as possible. Making a decision about what we want to buy is hard enough, we do not want to make decisions about how we want pay for it on top of it all.

This, somehow, seems to elude most banks, payment providers and basically everybody who is seeing a chance on earning a dime with all those transactions and credit card fees.

We have been involved in many different projects about mobile payment, loyalty programs and even couponing. It’s the wild west out there. Everybody wants to be in the money business all of a sudden. And for a reason. Technology, that’s the assumption by many, allows not-money-business actors to take a stab at that extremely lucrative, well guarded market.

And yet, the problems that many experience while attempting to enter the market are all the same: the insight is a wrong one. Last week, I attended a lunch with the top management of a big German bank. Or at least, it was a lunch for them. Them, being a very homogenous group of 10 men, had the chance to eat and ask me questions while I was busy trying to give them access to my thinking about finance with a focus on mobile. There was no time for eating, but I felt as if I made my vision of what I would be doing if I where them understood. Of course, the one question about the one thing that they should be doing emerged as well. The one answer that I could say without doubt was – and this brings us back to what I was said in the beginning of the post – is this: make the life of your customers easier.

The implications of this are big of course and apply not only to the finance sector. They are tide in closely with our general understanding of what we can help our clients with: offer products and services that people actually want to pay for.

Yet, especially the finance and payment sector has a lot of learning to do here. Money is part of our worlds infrastructure. At least in this particular version of our reality. Complacency, conservatism and the attempt to preserve what one has are incremental trade marks of any infrastructure operator. Sometimes with reason, most of the time without.

At this point, we feel as if we can create a significant contribution to this vital conversation and market. If you want us to elaborate on some of the ideas mentioned, please let us know.

Author: Igor

Igor likes to connect the dots. As a strategic consultant in an increasingly complex world, he favours broad knowledge over specialisation. In the last five years, he helped shape strategic decisions at large corporations like Deutsche Postbank AG and Deutsche Telekom AG as well as at startups like Amen and refund.me. In his work he is focusing always on finding the appropriate solutions as well as the people who will be executing upon his advice. Beside the consulting work, Igor speaks at international conferences on variety of topics (SXSW, PICNIC, re:publica, etc.).