The IoT-Service Kit stirs up banking

Isa Ette • Business and Service Design

Neugelb Studios GmbH is the newly founded service design branch of Commerzbank, a German corporation for banking and financial services. They have just recently set up their new offices in Berlin and Frankfurt. Futurice was present at the opening day in Berlin to give an introduction to service design to some of Commerzbank's invitees who were not yet familiar with the ideas and methodologies. Since it is Neugelb's mission to create new and convincing digital services in banking, the IoT Service Kit provided fertile ground for bankers and designers to sit together and think about the future of conversions and accounting.

Building connected services - in banking

As a kickoff Ricardo Brito gave an introduction to Futurice, the company's vision on IoT and the birth of the IoT Service Kit (if you don't know it yet, have a look here). As the participants of the workshop were half working in banking and half in digital design (in a broader sense), forming mixed groups of 4-6 people was the first task to be mastered by the invitees. After getting to know their group members people were asked to focus on the workings of the IoT Service Kit and check out the different parts, cards and tokens such as smart beacons and screens.

The participants worked on three topics in that IoT could potentially help to improve customer experience in banking- namely "at the bank branch", "banking during travel", and "retail". Three different blueprints were given to the workshop participants as a basis or "playboards" to develop innovative connected services. The IoT Service Kits workings are rather simple: The team sketching a concept involving IoT is incentivised to document their ideas directly on the blueprints. Moving the tokens on the playboard, empathizing with the agents involved in the concept and drawing customer journeys on the playboards helps to note potential obstacles right away. Thus the kit enables the team to stay on the same page during discussions, make decisions fast and adjust or sharpen the service concept accordingly.

The workshop's results

For about 100 minutes the workshop participants were consumed by their tasks. Finally they were asked to present their new customer journeys to all of the participants and spectators. Since the keynotes were already in preparation at this point, the audience at the Neugelb premises increased rapidly. Slightly intimidated by the sheer number of people listening to the final presentations and a camera duo one team after the other presented their results. It was encouraging to see how the participants had taken full ownership of their assigned task and wanted to make their results shine. Also, the overall feedback for the IoT Service Kit was overwhelmingly positive, so the workshop was a successful event of the opening days - for Neugelb as the organizers, and Futurice as the multiplicator and author of the IoT Service Kit.

Post scriptum

"So, how do you like what we are doing here, kids? The chic venue and the event and all?" Michael Mandel, member of Commerzbank's board and the evening's opening keynote speaker asked Ricardo and me after the workshop had finished. He wanted to know what we thought, obviously addressing us as representatives of "these digital natives". What Mr Mandel and the workshop participants made us realize that evening was that Futurice's philosophy of finding out about necessary changes and addressing them on a conceptual level is truly our way of working and the IoT Service Kit is expressive of this thinking.

Transformation towards digitalization is necessary, alright, but subsequent steps must be 1) in the customer's best interest, 2) incrementally refined and 3) continuously adjusted over time in order to shine. The IoT Service Kit is a great tool in that it helps designers of connected services to keep all the above aspects in mind.

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