KBC recently invited Needle for the third time to present on consumer behaviour, technological innovation, and the implications for financial services.

    The challenge

    To understand why simplicity is an essential element of financial services.

    Our talk was part of KBC’s ‘Dare to Simplify’ day, following a fascinating speech by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. To provide an approach grounded in both research as well as real-world applications, Miranda Maes teamed up with Justin Saddlemyer to provide a balanced approach to the topic.

    We discussed simplicity from three distinct but related angles:

    Simplifying content
    Simplifying experience
    Simplifying thought

    More about each topic

    Within each topic, we provided evidence for how and why complexity negatively affects attitudes, trust, and behaviour. For example, when discussing content we explored the research on processing fluency. This refers the finding that content that is easy to read or identify can often lead to positive customer inferences. We then linked this literature to The Royal Bank of England, which recently used the children’s author Dr. Seuss as an inspiration for simplifying communications.

    Throughout the presentation, we linked academic and industry research back to actual applications in the banking world. One key example we used to demonstrate reducing mental effort was Trōv insurance. Amongst other innovations, Trōv is notable for applying a Tinder-style swiping motion to coverage, reducing the need for users to learn an entirely new application.

    Beyond the topic of simplicity, our talk spoke to a key strategic focus: starting with real human behaviour, and using innovation as a tool to solve frustrations and difficulties. Technology should not lead consumer behaviour, but instead follow it.

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