Innovating Retirement

Product Strategy / Service Design
Key executives wanted to mature the organization with a sustainable approach to generating additional product ideas to bring to market, and ways to improve the service experience for customers and advisors relating to their retirement investments business.

Fjord was brought on to establish a point of focus for their innovation efforts, and help develop a backlog of concept ideas for validation and realization. The project took shape over 3 phases — led by a strategy lead. A team of 3 designers each took a slightly different role. I was primarily responsible for inputs and activities relating to concept ideation and synthesis, as well as lending support to discovery.
The Opportunity
Following a major organizational restructuring, a US based financial services provider engaged in a product development effort resulting in the creation of a few successful breakthrough new offerings.
• Secondary Research
(Business Landscape)
• User Personas
• Concept Ideation
• Concept Backlog
• Product and Service Concept Writeups
Service Designer
Strategy Lead
Project Manager
Service Designers (2)
• Primary Research
• Workshop Facilitation
We were provided a rich body of literature from the client's previous product development work — including customer and advisor archtypes. In order to gain a fuller understanding of the problem space, we conducted primary and secondary research with the intent to:
  • Gather contextual insights against the business landscape (PESTL analysis)
  • Gain a firsthand understanding of customer and advisor needs, behaviors, mindsets, perceptions and experiences relating to longterm investments and retirement planning
  • Gather in-category and out-of-category inspiration from innovators and category leaders in the financial planning and advisory space.

Alignment + Co-Creation
Having immersed in the business and user context we gathered program constituents across marketing, product development, distribution, actuary and IT for a workshop to align on a focus for innovation efforts and to generate concept ideas.
Our Solution
To focus our client's service and product innovation efforts, we refined common goals and shared aspirations into 5 opportunity areas based on recurring themes.

Against each opportunity area, key concepts were developed — each with a description, illustration, feature set, and list of success measures.

140 individual ideas were collated and groomed into a concept backlog of 7 product ideas and 14 service innovation ideas.
To aid in ideation we provided stimuli bringing to life customer and advisor personas in the shape of fictitious social media profiles.

A set of innovative product and service features were provided as ingredients to incorporate in new product offerings and service innovation ideas.
Each key concept was accompanied with a description detailing the context, need addressed, value delivered, along with a detailed list of features, success measures, and next steps for implementation.
The raw list of individual and synthesized ideas were organized against categorical buckets, evaluated against their level of definition and differentiation, and tagged against their relevant journey phase.
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