making money valuable

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The role of ethics in financial service design. Investigation as part of the Personal Finance Lab at ustwo. Presented at UX Camp London March 2014.


  • 1. MAKING MONEY VALUABLE Ayesha & Paz @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable

2. HEY! Were Ayesha & Paz. Were Interaction Designers at a place called We make digital stuff for banks and Financial Services as user-centred designers. It can get weird. 3. 1. Usual design dilemma of user vs. stakeholder needs 2. Banks and people need each other for different reasons 3. Needs imbalance can negatively impact peoples wellbeing THE BASICS @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable 1. We are human-centered designers who start with end user needs, contexts and perspectives. We get to make stuff for FS providers and banks and it can get confusing trying to make the 'right' decision.(e.g. is it unethical to make it easier for people to get into debt through the convenience of a smartphone?) 2. Why? Underneath the usual user/stakeholder clash, theres the deeper reality that banks don't need people the way people need banks. Beyond nding more humanizing banking services, that imbalance creates a vulnerability. 3. And its not just about feeling vulnerable or a lack of trust. There's a real power dynamic that can impact the nancial well- being of customers and their communities. And its disproportionate: customers well-being will suffer rst, as we saw in 2008. 4. THE QUESTION Can peoples banking needs be met ethically? @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable 4. So we're interested if and how user needs for banking can be met ethically... and what this implies for nancial services and our role as designers. 5. AND THEN IT ALL UNRAVELS... @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable Image: Lokacid (Flickr) Of course its not an easy question. What does ethical banking mean? Are ethical and moral the same thing? Who decides? What does that mean for nancial services in general? What does it mean for us as designers? As consumers? As citizens? Whos responsible? What do we really need banks for? What is money for? What am I doing down this rabbit hole? 6. PROBLEM WITH A SOLUTION PREDICAMENT WE FIGURE OUT WAYS TO LIVE WITH @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable Image: Lokacid (Flickr) So this isnt the usual design problem - as you can imagine its more of a wicked problem with no denitive solution. We wont share all the madness of the rabbit hole. And of course we dont have a solution. But we can share some pieces of the map that got us out of the rabbit hole. 7. U WOT? 1. Ethics, morals and value 2. Design landscape 3. Rules of thumb 4. Now what? @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable This is roughly what weve mapped to date. 8. ETHICAL PRODUCTS @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable Image: Telegraph Today consumer banking is more about products than long-term relationships. The appeal of an "ethical product" is to your moral sense, your desire to "do good." You're not just another consumer, you're special - you can choose to support X cause but not Y. Merlin Mann: If you want to really help people, then go out and help people. Its like when people say, Buy this pink yogurt, and a portion of the proceeds will go to charity! Well, you know whats really great? Donating directly to a good cause and having the entire portion go to charityand you dont have to act like youre Gandhi because you bought a snack. Just go spend some money on something you care about, then shut up about it: thats a dignied way to be an adult who helps people. 9. CONSUMER SCEPTICISM @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable Image: tamaki (Flickr) When I'm a consumer Im in price comparison mode. My right as a consumer is to competitive prices - so I'm skeptical about paying more for something that's supposed to be unquestionably "good." 10. HYPOCRISY @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable Image: Clay Bennett And anyway, I know it's just a matter of when prot meets the limit of your 'ethical' motive as a business. Whats meant to be generous just feels self-serving. 11. VALUE VALUE @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable Values that sound universal are suspect. What 'green' means to a paper towel manufacturer is not the same as to me. Or to the next customer. Assigning a value to your values. How do you quantify your values? Decision-making when comparing costs in the market is not the same as ethical decision - mixing them is stressful. 12. RESPONSIBILITY @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable Responsibility placed on my consumer choice rather than on service provider simply behaving in a responsible manner. The strain of making the right choice with the right outcome is a cognitive luxury when everyones competing for your attention. 13. ETHICS MORALS @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable Image: Spyderella (Flickr) It takes us into murky territory about what's moral vs what's ethical. Morals are individual beliefs. When shared or imposed, they may become law - that's when they contribute to an ethical framework. An ethical framework is more about behaviour than belief. 14. @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable Image: Damon Sacks (Flickr) Ethics are social - theyre behaviours that guide how we live with one another. They may be about a certain idea of togetherness and common well-being. They help curb individual behaviours that threaten this. Doctors, lawyers, and police follow such frameworks, for example. 15. @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable Image: Passive Aggressive Notes I may or may not hold a strong personal belief about wiping the counter when I'm done using the common kitchen, but social custom says I do it. So I do it to avoid shame or simply to t in. Ethical behaviour is bigger than the individual, it governs outcomes that impact the whole. 16. HOMO ECONOMICUS @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable Of course ethics and morals can blur into each other. Our ethical frameworks have moral underpinnings and assumptions. Defaulting on a debt is morally not considered quite right. The moral burden is on the debtor rather than the creditor. In consumer banking, the debtor is also a consumer. A consumer is an individual rather than part of a community. So they are sold a service as rational economic beings seeking to maximize their potential. As moral beings they want to respect the contract theyve signed. 17. @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable Image: thefost (Flickr) While morally in agreement, the creditor and debtor have a mismatched power relationship when it comes to consumer banking. They don't need each other the same way. In a fallout, the debtor will bear the brunt of the risk. The ethics of that impact fall outside the framework agreed in the contract. Starting from a user's perspective gives us a different ethical framework, focussed on minimizing harm and vulnerability. 18. SOCIAL ONION @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable Image: shareski (ickr) So if were more than just consumers when it comes to social well-being, let's look at the whole damned onion. 19. ME ME AND OTHERS OTHERS AND OTHERS System Self Community @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable We're starting from the needs at the centre. Individual well-being is related to all parts of this. In the middle we have someone who needs to care for themselves and others around them. Money helps them do this. They use services to transact, foresee and safekeep money to that end. Banks do this, and more, for them. Money as guaranteed by a bank offers access to commercial goods and services, but also access to services as a credible member of society. The further you get away from the centre, the less the needs of the system and the individual have in common. 20. @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable *Ethics* are more about integrity than consistency - maintaing well-being is the end goal and that can happen many ways: maintaining the status quo, or adapting and changing. e.g. No one should be homeless. How can we work with a situation where someone may default? *Morals* on the other hand are more about consistency than integrity - applying the same belief or law consistently to multiple situations. It makes for more predictable outcomes. e.g. It is wrong to not repay a debt. How can we implement this consistently to make sure we minimise risk? Ethical frameworks are generally about minimizing harm caused by the individual to the whole. Which means they also safeguard well-being. So what is needed to design from those needs? 21. Find the deepest need, see what's already meeting it and where See how user behaviours actually line up with those needs See what behaviours can be encouraged/ minimised to meet those needs See how those needs can be safeguarded by a service or existing social structure let them generate the service INSIDE OUT @ayeshamoarif / @jazzpazz /Making Money Valueable Designing from inside out (user side) - Find the deepest need, see what's already meeting it (I need to save money - whats the underlying need? Autonomy? Supporting family? How else is that need supported?) - See how user behaviours actually line up with those needs (Where wed like to be nancially doesnt always line up with what we actually do. How so?) - See what behaviours can be encouraged/minimised to meet those needs (What ways can we help you live out the deepest need? What behaviour scan we help?) - See how those needs can be safeguarded by a service or existing social structure - let them generate the service (may be P2P, small business rather than super-scalable startup, other existing services, etc.) 22. Dene harm and impact areas so you know what to avoid/minimise Service providers are human. Skin in the game = disincentive to behaving unethically Being ethical doesn't scale if ROI is measured in the same unit as investment Services need to be designed with cognitive limits in mind OUTSIDE IN @ayeshamoarif / @jazz