In Between Chickens and Prototypes: How Insights Become Ideas on Project Bertumbuh

If you read the Project Bertumbuh insight about tangible goods, you may be wondering what happened next.

Last week in Jakarta we held a frogThink – a series of lateral thinking exercises and interactive activities – to turn all the insights and opportunity areas from the field into actionable ideas. The first thing we did was walk through the personas. After three weeks of in-field research, 70 people, and two groups interviewed, we condensed our learnings into six personas. Each persona felt like a unique individual with details like name, age, living situation, loved ones, needs, finances, beliefs and daily activities, but was an amalgamation of the clusters of behaviors we saw from our participants. We “introduced” each persona to the BTPN, CGAP and Dalberg frogThink participants and discussed what was interesting and compelling. It served as the beginning of the inspiration for the two-day workshop.

Our frogThink resulted in 118 ideas. One example from a random entry ideation session was that someone like our “Zaki” persona, a meatball seller who makes Rp 2,000,000 a month (about $165,) would probably like to know how many cigarettes he’d have to give up per day in order to save to get a new radio. We combined that with another idea around being able to show a bank balance in whatever currency makes most sense to the customer (so someone could see on their mobile phone that they have the equivalent of 100 chickens, 70% of a motorcycle saved, or 6 bags of rice) and called the concept “Price in Rice.” After combining ideas and voting on what made the most sense to pursue next, we had five concepts to go and prototype.

One of the greatest things about diving right into prototyping is that you have to think through all aspects of an idea. We build it physically as well as create a business case. We mock-up screens and wording. We draw from inspirational examples and map out ecosystems. In doing that for one of the concepts, we’ve seen how a seemingly “normal” insight might actually end up changing how people in Indonesia think about banking itself.

In the field people had a hard time articulating their dreams; the range of what they could define was limited in scope and scale. They either struggled to verbalize something concrete, finally coming up with rote ‘education for my children, go on the Haj’ items, or shared only what they had seen in their families or neighborhoods. The children of kiosk owners talked about wanting to own kiosks. The friends of meatball sellers talked about wanting to have meatball businesses. The women in arisan savings groups talked about wanting the things they saw in the lives of the other women. So, one of the frogThink ideas was around helping people define their dreams and work towards achieving them.

As we’ve been prototyping the “Dream Package” concept this week, we’ve gotten more and more excited about how this could serve the unbanked in Indonesia. Partly because the concept includes innovations that make it compelling for customers and yet can still be profitable. But mostly because we think the product will break through the mental blocks people have around bank accounts only being for people with money – instead, bank accounts will be for people with dreams.

Gigi Gormley

Gigi is an American born, Italian-at-heart, former design researcher and strategist at frog. She is passionate about agriculture, gut bacteria and the outdoors.

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