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Innovation Lab (Innolab)


Our Innovation Lab (Innolab) offers FSPs access to our research in behavioural science, consumer data analytics, business model innovation and technology – research insights that assist them in bringing to market sustainable and welfare-enhancing products that promote financial inclusion in developing countries.

Through our Innovation Lab (Innolab), we seek to share our research findings in behavioural science, consumer data analytics, business model innovation and technology with financial-service providers, with the prospect of the research findings being applied. The goal is to bring sustainable and welfare-enhancing products to market in developing countries.

We use our engagements with the private sector to better inform our policy and regulatory interactions with government, while we share lessons learned with other parties in the financial inclusion space.

Identifying partners: Ideally, our partners are companies whose decision-makers are willing to consider disruptive innovation through upfront buy-in – partners that can reach large segments of the low-income market through existing channels or new distribution strategies. While respecting the proprietary nature of private companies’ work, we seek partners that are willing to share lessons learned so as to facilitate greater understanding and growth of the bottom-of-the-pyramid market.

Fostering innovation: Our Innolab applies a range of tools to support our partners in their development of key product innovations. These could include tools like:

  • Financial diaries, data analytics and supply-side research to inform our partners where data previously did not exist
  • Training, case studies and guided immersion visits to stimulate our partners’ thinking around financial service provision
  • Tools like product assessments, marketing and technical assistance to shepherd our partners for more managed innovation
  • Tools to connect our partners to peers, partners and key opportunities

Producing results: InnoLab’s engagements have spanned various areas of Cenfri’s research work, including micro-insurance, health financing and new technologies in distribution. Innolab has linked African financial-service providers with counterparts in Latin America to share lessons and experiences. From the streets of Maputo to the villages of the Eastern Cape, we draw on our engagements with end-users of financial services to better understand their needs and the ways in which they want to interact with financial-service providers. We have evaluated and helped design insurance and banking products, with a keen focus on building better services that provide high value to clients.

For more information on this programme, contact Herman Smit.