Project Management

Reimagining Financial Services Through Citizen Development

Liam is a citizen development expert in Ireland.

There are over 50 fintech unicorns running around in the world.[1] They are bringing cool, new stuff to consumers—and causing havoc, fear and disruption to lots of long-established financial service firms.

There are four drivers behind the fintech phenomenon:

  1. The first is consumers’ expectation that their banking digital experience should be as good as their other digital experiences.
  2. Second, venture capitalists (VCs) see a huge opportunity.
  3. Third, innovation in financial services is being dictated by regulators through open banking.
  4. And fourth, the ongoing requirement for financial services firms to continuously look at and reduce their complexity and cost base.

Founders at these fintechs are bringing consumer experiences and expectations from the world of Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google and Facebook to the world of financial services. They know how to leverage the technologies, product focus and work habits of these exemplars in new products and services within an industry that (one can argue) has not changed much since its founding by the Medici family in Venice in the 14th century.

What has not changed is the critical role finance plays in our everyday lives, from buying and selling “stuff” to normal banking, and from pensions to insurance. Venture capitalists are looking at the low valuations banks are trading at and think …

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