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‘Design Thinking’ is an observational method used by businesses to analyse, assess and solve problems. Practitioners do not have to be designers but should bring a designer’s attitude to their work, or at least an inclination to change.

From IDEO’s founder “fail early to succeed sooner” to Guy Kawasaki’s “don’t worry be crappy”, ‘Design Thinking’ is based on three principles: ideate, prototype & iterate.

A great example of experiential innovation through ‘Design Thinking’ is represented by Bank of America’s collaboration with IDEO in late 2005.

One result of it, “Keep the Change”, is a saving account allowing customers to round up card purchases to the nearest dollar, automatically depositing the balance. Inspired by the habit of saving the change from cash purchases, the product indicates how design thinkers rely on customer insights gained from real-world experience, not just historical data or market research. In less than a year the programme that followed this simple insight gained 2.5 million customers. Enrolment now totals more than 5 million consumers who, together, have saved more than $500 million.

Design Thinking’ taps into our emotions and aims to deliver innovation beyond aesthetics, to meet both our needs and our desires. Products need to appeal both emotionally and functionally.

As Jay Samit explains in “Disrupt yourself”: “Failing to create the complete ecosystem, of which the product is just a part, would result in the failure of the product itself”.

Sony experienced just this outcome in 2005 when it launched Librie, its first digital store. They were among the first to understand the consumer appetite for a digital reading device but failed to design all the services around the product, seeing it purely as a piece of hardware and, leaving the titles to publishers. By the time Sony realised the mistake, Amazon had released the first Kindle, which sold out in five hours.

In the same way, the Kindle wasn’t the first eBook digital reader, Apple’s iPod was not the first MP3 player, but as Guy Kawasaki said, “it was the first to be delightful”.

Once technological feasibility and market viability are met, a business must find desirable solutions for clients. Once a product is performing a task we then expect sophisticated experiences that are emotionally satisfying and meaningful. These experiences are the whole ecosystem in which the product will live.

The added value of ‘Design Thinking’ is the “empathy path”, placing the user’s benefit at the centre of the story.

The benefit of this is exemplified in the development of the ice business in the USA from the late 1800s, which came in the following three stages:

ICE 1.0: The ice harvester would wait for winter, go to frozen lakes and cut blocks of ice to then sell to clients.

ICE 2.0: 30 years later there was a major technological breakthrough: the ice factory, in which ice was made by freezing water and delivered via the ice man in the ice truck, with no more limitations from climate or season.

ICE 3.0: the introduction of the ‘personal chiller’: the refrigerator

This came in three discrete stages, through separate organisations ice harvesters did not become ice factories and the later did not enter the refrigerator business. This is because most companies define themselves by what they do, not the benefit they provide.

‘Design Thinking’ at COREMETRIX

Well most of us have been there! Our team is composed of professionals from all over the world and we have 11 nationalities represented. We have been where our clients’ applicants are. Having been ‘thin files’ for a while we can walk in our clients and client’s applicant’s shoes too.

In a dynamic society of ‘working-abroad’ and ‘forever-thin-file’ millennials, COREMETRIX provides a solution to lenders’ and consumers needs and addresses their frustrations by adding a new layer of information about creditworthiness. Consumers who were originally denied credit because of a lack of information, in spite of their financial possibilities, now have the chance to apply for a loan and get accepted based on their psychometric score.

With a psychometric assessment, we enable risk managers to take informed decisions based on data that refers to their applicants’ personality and financial attitude.

COREMETRIX is disrupting the way consumers’ access financial services, enabling lenders to make decisions based on more and better quality data and providing a benefit to both lenders and consumers.

In the end, when it comes to innovation it is quite easy to reach a conclusion: disrupt or be disrupted!

Caterina Ponsicchi, Creative Product Manager