Why do companies need a strong research culture?

January 19th 2021

Many qualitative researchers feel that their work is under-valued or under-utilized. They struggle to communicate with their colleagues about why research is important, how it is done, and especially how their company can really take advantage of the insights that great research can produce. This harms everyone: researchers feel dissatisfied with their jobs, and their companies forego valuable research insights.

In comparison, a company with a strong research culture is one in which research - in all its forms - is understood and valued across the company. People are curious to ask questions and learn more. People know how to work across silos and build insights, and products, together. And they keep their curiosity alive by bringing in new perspectives.

In such a company research is front-and-centre of product development and consumer engagement. Companies that use this approach become more truly customer-centric, a necessary stance to stay attractive to consumers in today’s market.

But building a research culture isn’t easy. It relies on non-researchers across the company having a working knowledge of how research is done and what it can provide. It also requires a shift in mindset to put the user front-and-centre rather than the product or service. And sharing research data and results requires that practical problems be solved, such as data management.

How can we build strong research cultures? In our EthnoBorrel meetup on 13 January, 2021, we invited participants to share their experiences of research cultures. We had two presentations: one by myself and Melanie Uy about a small research project we are doing on this topic, and another by Corina Enache (Transavia), who talked about breaking down research silos based on her many years of working in both research and non-research roles.

New podcast on digital money, mobility and long tails

July 29th 2020

The fabulous Dawn Walter recently interviewed me for her Anthropology & Technology podcast. In this episode I explain what got me hooked on exploring how finances affect people’s lives, and why we don’t understand our own financial behaviours despite money affecting so much of what we do.

I also share some stories from my consulting life, including anecdotes that illustrate why understanding the cultural is so important as well as the value that anthropologists bring to fintech companies.

We discuss the latest edition of the Consumer Finance Research Toolkit, and how fintechs can create niche solutions which address specific financial needs untapped by banks.

Lastly, we talk about the Female Finance report that I co-wrote with Dr Anette Broløs, and why it makes commercial sense to deliver financial services specifically for women.

You can listen to the podcast here, or if you prefer you can read the transcript.

New version of the CFRM Toolkit now available

July 17th 2020

Gawain and I are happy to announce that we have released an updated version of the Consumer Finance Research Methods Toolkit. Originally released in 2016, we produced this Toolkit with the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (IMTFI) to highlight innovative ways that researchers are using methods to understand financial behaviour.

The 2020 version of the Toolkit includes a brand new chapter on current issues in the finance industry, updated case studies, and references to plenty of recent (and fabulous) research. 

We hope you enjoy the Toolkit. Please do get in touch to let us know what you think, what's missing, and how we can collaborate to build a better financial world for humans! 

New report on financial services for women

July 2nd 2020

Have you ever thought how strange it is that financial solutions for women should be marketed in pink? Or what financial services firms are missing by not fully meeting female customers' needs?

Get the answer and find a first overview of the ecosystem of fintech for women in this study by EWPN in partnership with Keen Innovation. The report, “Female Finance: Digital, Mobile, Networked”, was produced by EWPN Research Leads Dr. Erin B. Taylor and Dr. Anette Broløs.

Around the world, an increasing number of financial service offerings are designed for (and by) women. We provide a first overview of such solutions. We point to some differences from traditional financial services and relate them to existing research.

We find factual reasons (income, expected lifetime, education and more) why women might look for different solutions than men.  We also find some other priorities. Women value narratives that help them conceptualize how financial services will help them manage. They look for solutions that target their life situation. Women value the possibility to handle their finances along with other people they trust – in a community. There is also a learning aspect dominant in many of the offerings that we studied, either in the form of blogs, interviews, events, e-courses or academies.

We hope that this overview helps both industry and researchers to better understand why women’s needs and life contexts must be taken into account when designing financial services. We also point out the need for further research.

Download the report here.