The Fjord London team wanted to find out what happens when you break traditional industry barriers and bring together people across verticals to work hard on a complex problem. The first such “mash-up” workshop experiment included people from the worlds of retail, banking, and venture capital, as well as Fjord’s service design team. Together we took on a topic where everyone in the room had both a personal and a professional interest: Money.
We started off with a provocative argument that the world of money is, in fact, not working that well – with a handful of examples of little pains such as predatory and expensive loans, how hard it is to find old transactions when you need to, how banking products are often complex and opaque, how hard it is to figure out what investment advice to trust, and so on. Our cross-industry team went on to identify more than a hundred more potentially fixable problems in the world of money.
Switching from finding problems to solving them, we split into groups that combined representatives of different industries. The groups were given specific instructions on how to solve these problems: one team looked at how people or companies working together with their peers (as opposed to a simple business-customer relationship) could solve problems; another was tasked with defining “Luxury” experiences (not necessarily expensive, but services that give you a feeling of red carpet treatment); another one was tasked to find solutions that would benefit the world in addition to making business sense, and yet another was given the imagination-stretching task of picturing a future world of money, dispensing with cash, credit cards and today’s bank accounts. Each team was to envision service ideas that solve some of the problems we found, that could also be sustainable as businesses.
While the work of uncovering service business opportunities and shaping them up for evaluation is a core Fjord discipline, we were still blown away by the extra energy and insight that having people with complementary business interests collaborating actively brought to the table.
As the experiment was a success, we plan to repeat it – if you are interested or if you have a great topic in mind, feel free to contact us at [email protected].
Hat tip to excellent food provided by Salt Yard, and thanks to our guests from the Fjord London team!