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Compete against neobanks

Work with Columbia Business School to help an incumbent bank retain and attract customers in the first job segment

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The challenge

EdUcate had the opportunity to partner with Columbia Business School and introduce Design Thinking and Sprint through a real client example to a group of 40+ engineers. With Neobank competitors on the rise, OTP, a large bank in Europe brought a challenge of wanting to be more user centric, especially when it comes to appealing to younger customers, to the table. The technical, more exciting ways these competitors are able to appeal to the young generation and there is a concern that as the generation shifts, OTP may get pushed out. Despite being a market leading company now, it is not always obvious how to and where to innovate, and for this reason the partnership with Columbia and EdUcate holds value to the customer.

The process

After explaining the problem to the student teams, OTP stuck around to discuss context and answer any lingering questions. EdUcate facilitated this partnership by introducing the Design Thinking process and ensuring there was common ground and understanding so that complex problems could be solved using an iterative human centered process.


The teams tackling this challenge consisted of young professionals; the target group OTP was hoping to appeal to. Knowing the trends, habits and most important aspects of banking issues on a personal level served the team well in proposing solutions that would truly be impactful. Also an important consideration is that New York is ahead of the market-curve, meaning they could accurately predict and point to the direction the European market will likely take in the near future.

The teams conducted interviews in order to better understand the behaviors, motivations and needs of customers. We drew empathy maps, customer journeys and created personas. All of these methods led to a reframed and clearer understanding of the true problem, and provided valuable insights that served as the basis of the solutions later on:


       1) Customers need banks but do not want them.

       2) Personal interactions are valued even by young users

       3) Trust cannot be earned while the customer feels ripped off by hidden fees or unclear               expectations.

The impact

Following presentations, the most promising solutions were chosen by the client to be implemented, with the continued support and contact from the teams so that backlog items could be further refined. Since students felt free to propose and explore solutions OTP may find too risky otherwise, these were unique and thus held value for the client. The tangible fully fleshed out solutions which were a direct result of the Design Sprint have changed the way OTP will drive engagement and growth in the future.

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