We apply certain principles to guide our work
We use finance as a means to a better life, and not an end in itself
Financial Diaries shed light on the fact that low-income people have financial lives that are fully entangled with their income generation strategies and social networks. There has been considerable success in providing access to financial services for low-income people but this has done little to transform the reality of their lives.
Addressing the broad set of challenges that these individuals face therefore requires solutions that are holistic in their approach. Solutions need to combine finance, user-centered design, information, policy and technology to resolve the broad scope of issues and challenges that low-income people face. As we have increasingly learned, money matters are no more appealing to deal with for the low-income than they are for the wealthy. They have an equal, if not greater desire for their finances to be easier to manage so they can focus on other life demands.
We create solutions by working with financial and non-financial partners
If we exclusively focused our work on financial institutions, we would miss primary “touchpoints” that low-income people know and trust. Less than 50 percent of all consumer inflows and outflows are financial flows whereas the majority of cash flows are income and expenditure. As such, we are missing crucial opportunities to reach consumers by focusing too heavily on financial flows. Instead we need to work with service points, existing products and institutions in low-income communities.
We look to broaden ecosystem policies
Enabling an integrated ecosystem is critical for creating the types of financial solutions that will help low income people improve their lives. This means we help policymakers design and roll out unique identification systems to enable financial services and social programs to make a difference, for example. It also means we support regulators to design technology to appropriately oversee new types of financial service players, and we work with service providers to create and promote public APIs to foster an integrated ecosystem.
We design and execute experimentation and evaluation to provide rapid learning
By helping partners to gather leaner consumer-level data, we provide rapid feedback to the providers we work with, and likewise, speed up the learning process within our client and stakeholder communities. Both social science methodology and technology have evolved to enable this approach, making the learning as nimble as the design and execution.