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Building capability for financial sustainability

MA 2022
Financial decisions, Behavioural change, Capability, Service Integration

Vision is an end-to-end service that helps people effectively manage their savings and start making early investments to build a financially sustainable future. It provides users with the necessary tools and information while facilitating an aided behavioural change to make better financial decisions.


EY Seren - a Strategic Design partner in the financial services industry, helping large complex organisations design their future and customer experience. In this project, EY Seren challenged us to shift the mindsets and behaviours of people to drive better financial decisions that ensure lifelong financial safety and stability.

Research & INSIGHTS

We started with extensive exploratory research to understand UK residents’ needs & priorities, controllable & uncontrollable factors around their spending. We targeted people aged 25-30, who are more likely to be nudged for behavioural changes as they just started earning a regular income with fewer considerations on finance management and are vulnerable to the uncertainties on government’s financial support post-retirement. We took the extreme user approach to learn from extreme user behaviours to identify opportunities and elements that lead to sustainable financial status.

As an outcome, we identified three user mindsets - ‘Spend it All’, ‘Intense Saver’ and ‘Visionary Investor’. Majority of the ‘Intense Savers’ are unaware of the drastic difference between annual inflation and overall growth on their savings, which gradually brings down its value. We decided to focus on the ‘Intense Savers’ as we found cash piling to be a significant issue for both individuals as well as the larger economy.

The Challenge

The 'Intense Savers' neglect the possibility of investing their cash savings as they find the investment options to be abstract and intimidating. Taking inspiration from Fogg's behaviour model, we observed our users need to overcome the behavioural barriers in motivation and capability to start making investment decisions. The users have to undergo a strong realisation of the need to start making investments to make them consider it and start learning from that point. Suppose they are made to realise the need, and self-research was the only option; In that case, they might overlook important information and the underlying risks and end up making wrong, uninformed decisions that might lead to losses. Hence it is important that we take them through a journey that educates them with all the necessary information and risk factors involved and builds confidence to start investing.


How might we make the ‘Intense Savers’ realise the potential long-term benefits of making investments,

and help them build knowledge and confidence to start investing?


Vision integrates different service components and stakeholders in the ecosystem to provide a seamless experience that takes users through a journey of aided behavioural change. The service aims to - make the users realise through materialistic and value-based visualisation of their financial growth predictions; educates them with all the basic information on different investment options and the risks involved; and makes them gain confidence to start investing through real-time practice with automated feedback, and option to consult with an advisor to check its affordability. When we have all the resources and tools already existing in the immediate environment, what value does vision create? It Integrates scattered resources to deliver a cohesive and informed user experience; Breaks down complexity in information, providing focus, clarity and ease of understanding; Easy to implement within existing financial service environments.


The service is most effective when integrated with banks and commonly used financial services. The service can be developed and operated in-house within existing high street and online banks. We investigated what value it brings to high street and online banks in providing this service to their users. We are currently working on business model case studies for the high street and online banks. Some of the hypotheses are - If high street banks provide this service, it will drive more customers to open an investment account, which can increase their revenue through trading fees. For online banks like Monzo, the passive income earned can be made a mandatory credit into users' pot savings, increasing user funds for lending loans. We will further prototype these hypotheses and refine the service based on feedback from users and financial institutions.


Special thanks to our tutor Neal Stone for guiding us throughout the entire journey; to our client team- Will Shaw, Caroline Booth and Richard Sedley from EY-Seren for their valuable feedback and continuous support; to our workshop participants and interviewees.