we need changes! but not today

prisoners of our own habits

face it, we are all prisoners of our own habits! i am a father of two and trying to build healthy habits into them by raising them — as most parents try — healthy and smart. those of you having children know it very well that sometimes it is a lot easier said than done. my older one just turned three and i am trying to talk her out of her collection of pacifiers.

our digital addictions

as i am trying all the best practices i witness myself taking her addiction much more significant than my ones. and sometimes, on very rare occasions i see myself from an objective outside view in the greatest rush to the gents room turning back for my phone left on my desk. i believe i would do the same in case of a burning house, rushing back for my phone. scary isn’t it? my scariest moment was realising myself holding my iphone very tight in my hands even when the battery was dead with a display pitch black. i have to admit that my phone is my pacifier that i am totally glued to

do you know what is your pacifier?

if you are a healthy adult being able to not touching your smartphone for more than 15 minutes you may laugh about my case. but when you check this article do you realise how serious this bad pattern really is?

tony fadell was one of the key members of steve jobs’ team to come up with the ipod and later on with the iphone. now he is the one who screams for apple to assist in breaking this serious addiction! to make it very easily understandable for joe public he compares our regular and ‘digital’ nourishment routines and the level of support we can get today to improve them

Take healthy eating as an analogy: we have advice from scientists and nutritionists on how much protein and carbohydrate we should include in our diet; we have standardised scales to measure our weight against; and we have norms for how much we should exercise.
But when it comes to digital “nourishment”, we don’t know what a “vegetable”, a “protein” or a “fat” is. What is “overweight” or “underweight”? What does a healthy, moderate digital life look like? I think that manufacturers and app developers need to take on this responsibility before government regulators decide to step in — as with nutritional labelling. Interestingly, we already have digital-detox clinics in the US. I have friends who have sent their children to them. But we need basic tools to help us before it comes to that.
high time for a digital detox?

he does not stop at diagnosing the symptom but gives hints to phone makers, software firms, digital consultants

You should be able to see exactly how you spend your time and, if you wish, moderate your behaviour accordingly. We need a “scale” for our digital weight like we have for our physical weight. Our digital consumption data could look like a calendar with our historical activity. It should be itemised like a credit-card bill, so people can easily see how much time they spend each day on email, for example, or scrolling through posts. Imagine it’s like a health app which tracks metrics such as step count, heart rate, and sleep quality.
With this usage information, people could then set their own targets — like they might have a goal for steps to walk each day. Apple could also let users set their device to a “listen-only” or “read-only” mode, without having to crawl through a settings menu, so that you can enjoy reading an e-book without a constant buzz of notifications.

we will see what is apple’s take on this, so far google seems to be a bit more open to the topic and introduced a digital wellbeing programme just recently

digital wellbeing by google

everyday patterns

widening the view a bit, you may have heard that foxes, when trapped, can chew off their legs to escape their prisons. i have to admit that this truly amazes me! incredible what are they willing and able to do survive. this can be a role model to all of us that we can escape if not the easy, then the hard way. however, these are just stories. if you dig deeper you will find the fact that fox legs sometimes are really found in traps, but instead of the fox, rather a coyote chewing off the leg of the fox.

many cases you need an outsider, an english man in new york, or quite contrarily when you are just visiting great britain you can easily get into very awkward situations as the kingdom is a very strange combination of traditions and modernism. one of my favourite examples is washing hands in traditional sin basins. there is no way you can get warm water on your hand, either cold (not really working against bacterias) or boiling.

yes, i have tried moving my hands very quickly between the two

as we often say to ourselves frustration is the greatest muse for innovation, embrace yourselves, there is hope. we are not talking about a leapfrog to continental one tap, but a wonderful example of pure genius

there are hundreds of other examples in all of our everyday lives for being trapped in our cognitive patterns, like standing on a scale every single morning/evening and waiting for a miracle to happen without changing a thing around our eating, sporting, recreating habits. these patterns are so deep in us that most of the cases you either need professional support or become very creative fighting a bad habit like continuously speeding

creativity helps to fight against bad habits

so what does it have to do with fintech?

we are all witnessing the revolution of open banking that will bring new entrants, new competitions, and partnerships, rise and fall of several well known and new players and products

nowadays everybody is talking about the challengers, the digital only, the so-called neo banks. they are all very sexy, lean, legacy-free and appealing to the masses. do they really? are we open to break our attachments to traditional financial institutions, open our mind, revisit our financial patterns and trust players that did not exist 3 years ago and maybe won’t after another 3 years?

we are yet to figure out the answer, but there are some studies that indicate that adoption of masses won’t be very straightforward similarly to any other deeply imprinted habits from our lives. a recent report from moneysupermarket.com states that 40% of brits never heard of challenger banks, and even the best rated digital bank is totally unfamiliar for 4 out of 5 people in uk

awareness of neo banks in uk

we have our popcorns with us to watch the battle of challengers and high street banks, but this going to be rather a marathon than a sprint and i am not convinced that this battle itself will have a big impact on our financial habits. i rather believe this battle for the customer will have a dimension that will finally force fintechs to provide their users with the promise of a sustainable financial life. for me, this is personal financial management on steroids, a new way of giving actionable insights to the end users about their spending habits, and i put my bet on the rise of pfms.

it must be the opposite of traditional pfms, relevant, actionable, encouraging, effortless and preferably predictive instead of retrospective, mundane and demtoivating. people need guidance, insights, support to live their lives and not worry to much about their finances while being on the sustainable side. we are also working on our concept, a few more design sprints and we will show you how we think about changing personal money management habits for good. ping us if you are interested or stay tuned for our update

hello.labs@finastra.com