Sheau Hui Ching

Visible Value from Invisible Services

When we approached the closure of a yearlong engagement with a financial services client, many questions around how to deal with future, emerging battlegrounds and exploring unmet needs came up. In the case of our client, as in many industries, we saw a continuing drive toward the goal of constantly changing services that dynamically respond to user needs and context in real time. While these goals may exceed our client’s current structural limits of design, we wanted to demonstrate potential drivers for forwarding innovation. And working within the context of our 2016 Fjord Trends, our annual report that focuses on the biggest digital developments we expect to disrupt organizations and society in the year ahead, provided the perfect method to teach them just that.

IMG_6971Working in collaboration with some of Accenture’s front end developers, we brainstormed more than 60 ideas, vetted from all angles, that mapped back to each of the Fjord Trends.

Our ideas carried a common theme: How might we optimize the organization’s service offering by pushing the intricacies back stage? Our ideas also aligned with the opportunities identified earlier in our project. We prioritized and narrowed everything down to five ideas based on features, meanings, and feasibility in the near term. In order to make the conversation with the client more impactful, we wanted to create something that was interactive, hands-on and unexpected. So we started sketching and prototyping.


We decided to present the ideas in a kit that further reinforced the theme,“Visible Value from Invisible Services.” Each kit comprised a box of cards and a UV flashlight. The five ideas were handwritten in invisible ink on each card, with the corresponding Fjord Trend printed on top. Shining the flashlight on the cards revealed the ideas hidden in the invisible ink. An Easter egg was also included in one of the cards to strengthen the discovery concept. The final card in each kit contained an NFC sticker to connect visitors to our Fjord Trends websiteAll these were wrapped in a black box, with the text “to the future” on top.

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The kits were handmade in the Fjord Chicago studio. We solicited additional designers – on their hands and knees, cutting, pasting and assembling these kits – to help with production.

The next day, we personally delivered the kits at the beginning of our workshop. As the clients unboxed them, they were immediately intrigued and deeply engaged in the discovery experience. This interactive presentation of ideas led to a very lively conversation, earned the client’s trust and led to co-creation and collaboration. And following the presentation, the client shared with us their roadmap and thoughts on how these ideas could manifest in the organization in the near future.


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Sheau Hui Ching

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