Now reading: Driving digital financial services with behavioural science

Innovation Lab (Innolab)

Through our innovation ecosystems work we understand, map and support the various drivers for inclusive innovation, including the development of sustainable and welfare-enhancing products.

We share our findings in behavioural science, alternative data, high impact business models and ecosystem creation and support through collaborative projects, convenings, practical training and programmes.

Innovation of various kinds is critical to achieve greater economic and digital inclusion for individuals – and it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. A variety of stakeholders, an enabling environment and other factors are needed for innovation ecosystems to flourish. These ecosystems consist of, among others, innovation hubs, higher education institutions, investors, competitions, providers of alternative training, mentors, start-ups, innovative corporates, and many more.

Our inclusive innovation and ecosystem engagements have spanned various research areas, including insurance, health financing, remittances and new technologies in distribution. Our InnoLab projects have 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.

Our work aims to understand and map the various forces that influence these stakeholders and innovation more broadly. We aim to identify leverage points for positive impact and assist ecosystem stakeholders in making use of these opportunities. We do this through collaborative research processes, interactive databases, and strategic convenings.

About the Inclusive Fintech Forum

One of our specific activities is the Inclusive Fintech Forum, which convenes and supports the fintech ecosystem. The forum is based in Cape Town, and thus targets the fintech market here, but we share insights from across sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. Each quarter, Cenfri will host fintechs to discuss key questions related to providing inclusive financial services. Through a combination of presentations (by Cenfri and external experts) and interactive activities, we will introduce attendees to insights that will be beneficial to growing their customer base and improving their service offerings. Some examples of insights that will be shared are:

  • Frameworks: Evaluating markets, distribution channels, customer segments etc.
  • Market overviews: Be introduced to new ones and/or place yourself within context
  • Guidance: Engaging with various stakeholders, from potential partners to regulators
  • Inspiration: Speakers’ success stories and other examples

Insights from each session will be shared and suggestions and requests for discussion topics are welcome! For more information, suggestions, or for enquiries about partnering, please reach out to Eden D’Oliveira.

About systems practice

Systems practice is both a specific methodology and a more general approach to grappling with adaptive problems in complex environments with the aim of making enduring social change at scale. See this video for an introduction to systems practice and its uses. We base our systems practice approach on the process outlined by the Omidyar Group.

The methodology of systems practice is at its core a participatory, sense-making exercise. The aim of the process is to explore and map out all the relevant factors or forces that influence a system and its functioning, their causes and effects, and how they then influence one another. Ultimately, the process identifies leverage points that have high potential impact on the system, which can be taken on by various system stakeholders to effect change. It is key that the project be taken on by a diverse team, closely involving stakeholders from across the ecosystem.

Want to engage Cenfri for a systems mapping process? Read more about our process below, or contact Isabelle Carboni to find out whether the methodology is suitable for your question.

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