Discovering new opportunities for financial services

STBY was asked by a Dutch financial institution to carry out design research to support the creation of new service concepts in relation to housing. Our exploratory research focused on exploring emerging new practices as well as unmet needs and requirements of customers, as a first step towards identifying opportunities for new services.

This research enabled the institution to gain a stronger and more multifaceted understanding of their customers. The insights from the exploratory and contextual design research are now being used by their innovation team to further develop new service concepts. We used qualitative in-depth research methods (such as interviews on location, customer journey mapping and visual documentation) to capture rich and emphatic observations.

Uncovering emerging needs and ambitions

The project team of STBY and that of the financial institution jointly investigated how recent and expected future changes influence the way people relate to ownership, mobility and smart tech in their house. How do those changes create and influence needs and preferences, and what new opportunities could be found beyond traditional financial service realms? If you ask people to imagine themselves when they are older, they almost all want to keep living independently and describe that moving to a traditional ‘care home’ would be their nightmare. Most people want freedom and control, with support if needed.

Personal histories and considerations

Contextual in-depth interviews were held with respondents in their own dwellings.Their stories about how they had found, created, and changed their homes through time, gave us relevant insights into the difficulties they faced in making choices when it came to adapting or changing their dwelling and living situation. They described the expectations, needs and wishes that emerged from their relationship with the surrounding environment, their social and family connections, and their history with both their current and past dwellings and surroundings.

Immersive stories and mental models

Based on the interviews, we created concise and inspiring portraits of the participants, combined with visuals reflecting the mental models of their current and imagined future housing situation. We presented these in a series of co-creative workshops with a broad group of stakeholders from the financial institution. In these workshops we also showed video fragments from the interviews, enabling the participants to immerse themselves in the stories of people we interviewed in a direct and personal way.

Opportunities for service innovation

As a result of the design research three new opportunity areas were identified, for which new service concepts are now being developed.