Engaging the FS community to redefine what ‘best’ really means

 Ross Methven photo
Ross Methven Practice Lead for 11:FS Pulse and Benchmarking
5min read

11:FS Pulse has brought competitor insights to life. Now we’re going further, involving the entire community to redefine and continually advance what the ‘best’ means in digital financial services.

A few years ago myself and David were chatting about how poorly research and consulting firms delivered ‘insight’ into what competitors were doing.

We shared a number of frustrations. No one could really show how the new swathe of digital apps worked. There was zero depth in to how the UI, UX and overall design worked in conjunction to deliver new services. Digital banking was more experiential than ever before, but the ‘best’ research was static screenshots buried deep in PDF reports.

So when we joined forces to build 11:FS, one of our guiding principles was to fix that. We knew that product designers, innovation leads, and c-level wanted a new, digitally-native medium to bring these kinds of insights to life.

Step forward, 11:FS Pulse.

The development was supported by three pioneering banks that shared the vision and an MVP was rapidly developed with their support. The teams at 11:FS who are actively involved in building digital propositions for our clients quickly found Pulse to be an essential tool as part of any design and build project. It quickly captured the attention of others in the industry.

Digital banking was more experiential than ever before, but the ‘best’ research was static screenshots buried deep in PDF reports.

Affectionately referred to as “the Netflix of Fintech” by our customers, Pulse now contains thousands of videos of end to end customer journeys across a broad range of incumbent and challenger banks all around the world.

The content library grows with each day, driven by market developments and requests coming directly from our large, and rapidly expanding, user base. All journeys are deconstructed, rated and given an expert audio commentary.

Never stop improving

So, we knew we had a really good service that users liked. But we still weren’t satisfied.

We recently took stock of why we had created Pulse and looked at where we want to take it. In doing so we re-examined our reasons for creating Pulse in the first place:

We created Pulse to enable makers of FS products to keep up with UX, product and market trends so they can deliver high quality, differentiated products.

But how do you define this, when it cannot be defined in isolation? It needs to come from a diverse universe of people and teams, including:

  • Product teams at incumbents
  • Product teams at challengers and fintechs
  • Industry experts and commentators
  • The Pulse user community

If we want to truly help the teams, wherever they sit within each organisation to build the best products and help the entire FS community build the best products, then we of course need to actively involve the entire community in Pulse. The by-product of this approach it that is will also help us to continually advance what ‘best’ actually means and looks like at any given point in time.

We have already begun involving the makers in our weekly Homescreen series, a live streamed show, where we have met some of the people behind leading brands and propositions such as N26, Revolut, Monzo and Transferwise. We’ve dug in to their design choices, process flows, UX ideas and more, revealing what worked, what they found and even what they scrapped.

Community, community, community!

Homescreen is a first step in actively involving the wider financial services community, from the incumbents to the fintechs and everyone else in between.

We are now working towards Pulse becoming the FS community’s hive mind. The community will be placed at the heart of the platform and help decide what’s best and what’s next and help each other to deliver on both.

Today’s leading features quickly become hygiene factors and no longer delight customers. Think card freezing, PIN management and instant transaction notifications pioneered by some of the challengers and, over time, eventually aped by incumbents. We are actively engaging our community within Pulse to help identify what features fall into that category but, crucially, what is on the horizon.

It won’t just be 11:FS deciding on what is market-leading, it will be the entire community. We will continue to curate and have a voice, but it is the makers and users of financial services products, and beyond, whose voices we will look to bring front and centre.

Our vision is to take Pulse to the next level and make it the essential tool for anyone and everyone that wants to create world-class digital financial services products and services. It will combine the best of the industry and best practices and ideas from other verticals, including consumer goods, retail and energy for example.

Ultimately this will:

  • Create a valuable internal tool: the platform will host the conversations teams have as well as the content of those conversations.
  • Deliver a highly collaborative approach to innovation inside and between organisations.
  • Include and actively encourage a more diverse set of perspectives: curating a community that gives a voice to the makers, users and industry experts to identify what really is ‘best’.

If you want to get involved, or want to learn more about what we’re building, head on over to Pulse.

 Ross Methven
About the author

Ross Methven

Ross and his team provide outstanding digital banking research and consultancy for a diverse range of clients around the world.