03 October 2016

Designathon at the heart of smarter money management

3 minute read


  • What is a designathon?

  • How can we help customers manage their money better? 

  • How can we provide intelligent insights into spending and saving habits to improve customer experience? 

  • How can we empower customers and help them get more for their money?

Nationwide’s Louise Vanheems reveals how organising the Society’s first ‘designathon’ has enabled our designers to focus on innovative ideas to help customers manage their money better.

Managing your finances should fit into modern life and financial services providers should be using their data to help customers more – whether it’s to save money, manage their finances better or offer convenient ways to pay. If you agree, you’re not the only one! We uncovered these insights, and much more, during our recent research into the Future of Digital Banking. 

We also found that whilst customers will increasingly select providers based on the quality and convenience of their digital banking proposition, the human touch and face to face services is still vitally important to customers. As a mutual Nationwide is ideally placed to offer the best of both worlds.

One of the most enjoyable and productive ways of developing our ideas in this area has been our series of designathons. So what is a designathon? Creative Teams get together from different business areas to work together over an intensive couple of days to share ideas and create design proposals for potential future digital products and services. Simply put, it means our designers and digital teams can brainstorm lots of ideas in a very short space of time – and get their proposals in front of a panel of senior leaders there and then.

“Enabling different teams around the business to work in this way is important as all employees across the Society have a responsibility and involvement in innovating to deliver greater convenience and value to our members.”

The ideas also have the best chance of being developed further, especially when we open up voting and feedback opportunities to employees across the organisation, and enable everybody to come and see and test out the ideas on display in our Innovation Lab. As a result of this we’ve also inspired people from other business areas to get involved in future events.

So, how did we decide what challenges to set for our designathons? We wanted to respond to our members’ needs, as outlined in our Future of Digital Banking insight paper, and so teams worked on creating proposals for the first event based on questions such as: 

  • How can we help customers manage their money better?
  • How can we provide intelligent insights into spending and saving habits to improve customer experience? 
  • How can we empower customers and help them get more for their money? 

The ideas were wide-ranging, including solutions that would allow you to link savings goals to calendar events, create and share pots of money with your contacts, and an app designed to help customers understand their relationship with money better, backed up by expert support from branch staff. 

The Innovation Lab is always looking for new ways to help members get more from their money and we’ll continue to stir up new ideas, inspire employees and create innovative customer proposals. We are looking forward to sharing the designathon ideas with our customers to get their feedback with the aim of developing some ideas into working prototypes.

About the author

Louise Vanheems

Louise Vanheems is Innovation Manager for Group Innovation at Nationwide, responsible for creating and assessing innovative proposals and testing them with internal stakeholders and customers.

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