“A conversation turns to currency when people discover something meaningful in a “conversational” experience, they are prepared to spread the conversation as if it were their own. [...] Conversational currency is created by the propagation of a conversation by others that incorporate your conversation into their own narratives. The more valuable your conversation is the more likely they are to be propagated by others.”
Posts in category 'Financial'
Exploding Media: Exploding Story
This is the story of the extraordinary transformation of Media from all the creative and technological aspects… From traditional storytelling to the impact of gaming on education; from city interaction and augmented reality to the Metaverse, this narrative will feature all the latest innovations that the media industry is going through. We will also introduce creative geniuses pushing the envelope on these new developments, and their impact on personal creativity, brand marketing, learning and entertainment.
The Next Economy: Social, Sustainable, Creative
The attention economy, the experience economy, the sharing economy, the local economy… The economy is currently top of mind in every discussion. What emerging business models can we explore? Can print media be saved? How can communities create local currencies or micro-economies to create sustainable abundance? What is the future of money?
Life in Motion: Finding the Magic in Mobile
Mobile phones are the most personal devices in our lives. In certain parts of the world, mobile is the only media and mobile internet is the only internet. PICNIC ’09 will give mobile the attention it deserves. We will explore mobile lifestyles around the world, look at how creative brand managers are using mobile to establish brand loyalty and showcase the most innovative mobile applications.
“One of the issues that keeps cropping up when discussing mBanking (and branchless banking) is the challenge of agent reliability and customer service. How does one ensure the trustworthiness of a growing network of agents and simultaneously handle customer complaints?
A number of speakers at Fletcher’s recent conference highlighted these challenges and warned they would become more pressing with time. So this got me thinking about an Ushahidi-for-mBanking platform.
Since mBanking customers by definition own a mobile phone, a service like M-Pesa or Zap could provide customers with a dedicated short code which they could use to text in concerns or report complaints along with location information. These messages could then be mapped in quasi real-time on an Ushahidi platform. This would provide companies like Safaricom and Zain with a crowdsourced approach to monitoring their growing agent network.”
(See also this Reuters story)
The impact is to be felt most in developing world where access to banking is limited.
“Mobile payments, when used in developed countries such as the U.S., are usually an extension of an existing payment infrastructure, but in developing countries, users can combine mobile payments with mobile banking to pay bills more conveniently and to gain access to loans and other financial services that might not have been possible before, said Sandy Shen, a Gartner analyst. “It can greatly improve standards of living,” she said.”
For example, mobile phones help rural farmers gather information about crop prices, and bargain shoppers download coupons on the fly.
For this NPR Talk of the World program, guests and listeners from around the world discuss innovative ways they use their cellular phone.
- Natasha Elkington, journalist for Reuters. She uses her mobile phone to pay her farm manager in Kenya.
- Amy Webb, principal for Webbmedia Group
- Alieu Conteh, founder of Vodacom, a cell phone company in Congo
- Hiram Enriquez, independent consultant focusing on mobile technologies and digital media strategy
The process is based on one driving question: How can government and private sector most affect the uptake and usage of branchless banking among the unserved majority by 2020?
Jonathan Donner is a researcher in the Technology for Emerging Markets Group at Microsoft Research India. Previously, Jonathan was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and worked for the consultancies Monitor Company and The OTF Group. He holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University in Communication Theory and Research.
Speaking on the side of a workshop that was held in Cape Town last month, Jonathan shared his views on how cash and electronic money aren’t so different when it comes to a question of trust, and how branchless banking is helping poor people spend less time and money to do simple financial transactions.
Listen to interview (mp3)
“Nobody stands to benefit quite like Africa’s increasingly powerful telecom companies, the conglomerates who built this continent’s cellular towers and enable its calls.
“These guys are going to be more powerful than Google, more powerful than Microsoft, within the locality in which they operate,” Amankwah said. “Already, telecoms move more money than the banks. And they have control over the channels — it’s their sim card. You’re using their network.”
Talking Mobile Banking in Kenya
Notes from the panel “Perspectives on Mobile and Branchless Financial Service”
Volume vs Value in Mobile Payment Systems
Talk by Stephen Mwaura Nduati, who is in charge of “Payment Systems” at the Central Bank of Kenya
“We’re entering a time in which products are expected to give themselves over as platforms for innovation and reinvention. Even money, something we tend to think of as absolute, seems to have lost some standing as a singular fixed medium with which to conduct transactions. This deterioration may have begun with the excesses of the past thirty years, when money came into its own as a commodity. Derivatives, options, credit default swaps, margin calls, shorts were inventive new ways to repackage money, some of which resulted in the near-collapse of our financial system. The recent challenges to our banking system notwithstanding, a different kind of transformation, on with implications to the very essence of our money system, is being affected by technology.
From its role in institutions to its use for transactions, in places as far flung as Uganda and Bangladesh, money is giving way to other forms of currency or, in some cases, nothing at all.”
by Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford, Orlanda Ruthven
Princeton University Press
Hardcover, May 2009
About forty percent of the world’s people live on incomes of two dollars a day or less. If you’ve never had to survive on an income so small, it is hard to imagine. How would you put food on the table, afford a home, and educate your children? How would you handle emergencies and old age? Every day, more than a billion people around the world must answer these questions. Portfolios of the Poor is the first book to explain systematically how the poor find solutions.
The authors report on the yearlong “financial diaries” of villagers and slum dwellers in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa–records that track penny by penny how specific households manage their money. The stories of these families are often surprising and inspiring. Most poor households do not live hand to mouth, spending what they earn in a desperate bid to keep afloat. Instead, they employ financial tools, many linked to informal networks and family ties. They push money into savings for reserves, squeeze money out of creditors whenever possible, run sophisticated savings clubs, and use microfinancing wherever available. Their experiences reveal new methods to fight poverty and ways to envision the next generation of banks for the “bottom billion.”
“The unbanked do not have access to such luxuries as standing orders, which richer people use to overcome the temptation to spend whatever they earn. And they are forced to pay for things that are free for most—which enables women like Jyothi to earn a crust by offering a safe store for small savings. But with some ingenuity, they use unorthodox financial instruments to create a more stable life than their erratic incomes would otherwise allow.”
“Often times in the development community the bottom billion is thought of in terms of aggregate statistics without much attention given to the individuals and their day to day lives. The goal of the authors was to find a happy medium between aggregate data/statistics and individual anthropological research. What they developed as a result were Financial Diaries, which give a basic overview of every financial transaction made and service used over the studied timeframe.
Through the use of Financial Diaries, the researchers meticulously tracked every detail of their subjects’ financial lives by interviewing them bi-weekly for one year using metrics of the portfolio management world, including cash flow and income statement analysis. While gathering evidence, they discovered that it took approximately six interviews with each respondent to develop the trust required to obtain accurate data and account for margins of error. This is in interesting implication for research that is often times based on one interview. Their analysis approached households as start-up organizations and adjusted their research using these metrics.”
A comparative study of speech and dialed input voice interfaces in rural India
Neil Patel, Sheetal Agarwal, Nitendra Rajput, Amit Nanavati, Paresh Dave, Tapan S. Parikh
In this paper we present a study comparing speech and dialed input voice user interfaces for farmers in Gujarat, India. We ran a controlled, between-subjects experiment with 45 participants. We found that the task completion rates were significantly higher with dialed input, particularly for subjects under age 30 and those with less than an eighth grade education. Additionally, participants using dialed input demonstrated a significantly greater performance improvement from the first to final task, and reported less difficulty providing input to the system.
Sacred imagery in techno-spiritual design
Susan P. Wyche, Kelly E. Caine, Benjamin K. Davison, Shwetak N. Patel, Michael Arteaga, Rebecca E. Grinter
Despite increased knowledge about how Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) are used to support religious and spiritual practices, designers know little about how to design technologies for faith-related purposes. Our research suggests incorporating sacred imagery into techno-spiritual applications can be useful in guiding development. We illustrate this through the design and evaluation of a mobile phone application developed to support Islamic prayer practices. Our contribution is to show how religious imagery can be used in the design of applications that go beyond the provision of functionality to connect people to the experience of religion.
A comparison of mobile money-transfer UIs for non-literate and semi-literate users
Indrani Medhi, S.N. Nagasena Gautama, Kentaro Toyama
Due to the increasing penetration of mobile phones even into poor communities, mobile payment schemes could bring formal financial services to the “unbanked”. However, because poverty for the most part also correlates with low levels of formal education, there are questions as to whether electronic access to complex financial services is enough to bridge the gap, and if so, what sort of UI is best.
In this paper, we present two studies that provide preliminary answers to these questions. We first investigated the usability of existing mobile payment services, through an ethnographic study involving 90 subjects in India, Kenya, the Philippines and South Africa. This was followed by a usability study with another 58 subjects in India, in which we compared non-literate and semi-literate subjects on three systems: text-based, spoken dialog (without text), and rich multimedia (also without text). Results confirm that non-text designs are strongly preferred over text-based designs and that while task-completion rates are better for the rich multimedia UI, speed is faster and less assistance is required on the spoken-dialog system.
Comparing semiliterate and illiterate users’ ability to transition from audio+text to text-only interaction
Leah Findlater, Ravin Balakrishnan, Kentaro Toyama
Multimodal interfaces with little or no text have been shown to be useful for users with low literacy. However, this research has not differentiated between the needs of the fully illiterate and semiliterate – those who have basic literacy but cannot read and write fluently. Text offers a fast and unambiguous mode of interaction for literate users and the exposure to text may allow for incidental improvement of reading skills. We conducted two studies that explore how semiliterate users with very little education might benefit from a combination of text and audio as compared to illiterate and literate users. Results show that semiliterate users reduced their use of audio support even during the first hour of use and over several hours this reduction was accompanied by a gain in visual word recognition; illiterate users showed no similar improvement. Semiliterate users should thus be treated differently from illiterate users in interface design.
StoryBank: mobile digital storytelling in a development context
David M. Frohlich, Dorothy Rachovides, Kiriaki Riga, Ramnath Bhat, Maxine Frank, Eran Edirisinghe, Dhammike Wickramanayaka, Matt Jones, Will Harwood
Mobile imaging and digital storytelling currently support a growing practice of multimedia communication in the West. In this paper we describe a project which explores their benefit in the East, to support non-textual information sharing in an Indian village. Local audiovisual story creation and sharing activities were carried out in a one month trial, using 10 customized cameraphones and a digital library of stories represented on a village display. The findings show that the system was usable by a cross-section of the community and valued for its ability to express a mixture of development and community information in an accessible form. Lessons for the role of HCI in this context are also discussed.
Designable visual markers
Enrico Costanza, Jeffrey Huang
Visual markers are graphic symbols designed to be easily recognised by machines. They are traditionally used to track goods, but there is increasing interest in their application to mobile HCI. By scanning a visual marker through a camera phone users can retrieve localised information and access mobile services.
One missed opportunity in current visual marker systems is that the markers themselves cannot be visually designed, they are not expressive to humans, and thus fail to convey information before being scanned. This paper provides an overview of d-touch, an open source system that allows users to create their own markers, controlling their aesthetic qualities. The system runs in real-time on mobile phones and desktop computers. To increase computational efficiency d-touch imposes constraints on the design of the markers in terms of the relationship of dark and light regions in the symbols. We report a user study in which pairs of novice users generated between 3 and 27 valid and expressive markers within one hour of being introduced to the system, demonstrating its flexibility and ease of use.
“When I am on Wi-Fi, I am fearless”: privacy concerns & practices in everyday Wi-Fi use
Predrag Klasnja, Sunny Consolvo, Jaeyeon Jung, Benjamin M. Greenstein, Louis LeGrand, Pauline Powledge, David Wetherall
Increasingly, users access online services such as email, e-commerce, and social networking sites via 802.11-based wireless networks. As they do so, they expose a range of personal information such as their names, email addresses, and ZIP codes to anyone within broadcast range of the network. This paper presents results from an exploratory study that examined how users from the general public understand Wi-Fi, what their concerns are related to Wi-Fi use, and which practices they follow to counter perceived threats. Our results reveal that while users understand the practical details of Wi-Fi use reasonably well, they lack understanding of important privacy risks. In addition, users employ incomplete protective practices which results in a false sense of security and lack of concern while on Wi-Fi. Based on our results, we outline opportunities for technology to help address these problems.
Predrag Klasnja, Sunny Consolvo, Jaeyeon Jung, Benjamin M. Greenstein, Louis LeGrand, Pauline Powledge, David Wetherall
Sharing empty moments: design for remote couples
Danielle Lottridge, Nicolas Masson, Wendy Mackay
Many couples are forced to live apart, for work, school or other reasons. This paper describes our study of 13 such couples and what they lack from existing communication technologies. We explored what they wanted to share (presence, mood, environment, daily events and activities), how they wanted to share (simple, lightweight, playful, pleasant interaction), and when they wanted to share (‘empty moments’ such as waiting, walking, taking a break, waking up, eating, and going to sleep). ‘Empty moments’ provide a compelling new opportunity for design, requiring subtlety and flexibility to enable participants to share connection without explicit messages. We designed MissU as a technology probe to study empty moments in situ. Similar to a private radio station, MissU shares music and background sounds. Field studies produced results relevant to social science, technology and design: couples with established routines were comforted; characteristics such as ambiguity and ‘movable’ technology (situated in the home yet portable) provide support. These insights suggest a design space for supporting the sharing of empty moments.
“Obopay is an payment system that works on your cell phone–kind of like a mobile PayPal. The service is cheap, easy to use, and fantastically convenient. Not only that, it’s well-backed; today Nokia [NOK] announced it would funnel an additional $70 million into the startup in exchange for a minority stake in the company. So why isn’t everyone using this thing? [...]
It’s no fault of the concept; mobile payments have exploded in popularity in Africa and other developing regions. Obopay itself operates in both Indian and American markets; in India, they’ve garnered a strong customer base. In the U.S., not so much. Why won’t Americans get with it?”
For anyone designing for consumer finance — banking, investing, billpay, money management tools, insurance providers or any business selling “savings” as a value proposition (as a consultant, I’ve learned a lot through having had opportunities to touch all of these areas) — here are some design principles you can employ to make saving a little easier for us all:
- Create perceptions that motivate.
- Make the abstract concrete.
- Equip the mind to control the flesh.
- Architect complex choices carefully.
Not sure it is enough to address people’s deep distrust towards financial institutions in the current financial crisis.
KashKlash is an open forum and web project focusing on alternative economies in a post-money future. What will such a world look like? How will the concept of value be measured? What concepts will shape the formal and informal economies? Bright thinkers from around the world came together online to discuss, debate and ideate in this innovative and exciting project.
KashKlash is a collaborative project between Heather Moore of Vodafone, Experientia and a group of independent visionaries. The project started with four bright and innovative provocateurs, Nicolas Nova, Joshua Klein, Bruce Sterling, and Régine Debatty, and as the debate gathered steam, contributions, comments, flickr photos and twitter streams rolled in from more than 50 additional participants to shape and envision possible futures.
Download booklet (pdf)
Information will be used as money (transcript)
Ethan Zuckerman, who specializes in the implementation of transformative technological innovations in developing countries, observes how a system for transferring money in Uganda has anticipated a trend in the use information such as cell phone credits as a viable currency for day to day transactions. These alternative payment systems will be mediated by phone companies and anyone who is in the business of turning money into information.
Shedding new light on Kenyan violence (transcript on same page)
Ethan Zuckerman describes a project called Ushahidi, a project which resulted from the elections in Kenya, that allows anyone around the world to gather reports by mobile phone, email and the web – and map them.
Mobile reporting deepens global narratives (transcript on same page)
If we don’t have reporters in Gomah, but we do have a lot of connected citizens in Gomah, how do we take advantage of that? How do we take advantage of their ability to witness and report, and how do we knit that together into narratives that tell us something we didn’t know previously?
“I’d love to see a boom of cheap m-banking software, designed by people who know how poor people want to use their phones. Although lower-income, non-Western users make up 80% of the world’s new mobile consumers, the guys in Finland, Sweden and South Korea still decide how people’s phones look and feel. But for how long? I’m interested, because I expect usability to be one key in how fast poor people are willing to adopt mobile-based financial services (which CGAP believes can blow open the frontier for access to finance for the poor).”
“Researchers at the Center for Future Banking, in collaboration with Bank of America, will explore how emerging technologies and insights into human behavior can transform the customers’ experience and elevate the role of the bank in their financial lives. We seek to invent new ways to anticipate the needs and desires of customers down to the level of the individual, to put every customer in total control of his or her own financial futures, to rethink the experience of customer-bank interaction as virtual and physical reality become increasingly intertwined, and finally to leverage the unique position of a bank to make people’s lives simpler and more fulfilling.
The Center brings together disciplines ranging from behavioral economics, to computer science, to urban design in order to take a truly holistic approach to imagining and realizing new possibilities in banking. Its research will span a wide range of physical and social scales, from one-on-one interactions with customers, to new modes of global transactions.
AT&T Associate Professor Deb Roy, chair of MIT’s academic program in Media Arts and Sciences and a pioneer in cognitive modeling, communication theory, and human-machine interaction, serves as the Center’s founding director and principal investigator. He is joined by a multidisciplinary team of researchers and students with a passion for invention—a team that is not only developing new ideas for the banking industry, but also building and testing working prototypes.”
Make sure to also check out the somewhat hidden Macro Trends section.
He said that web technologies like remote cameras can enable individuals to bypass traditional financial systems and engage directly in transactions like mortgages and business loans. Assuming we can created a mechanism to establish trust and legal guarantees he sees the potential for the rapid emergence of a new type of economy.
Ariely also outlined the requirements that are necessary to facilitate remote access financial transactions including a good technology for reputation, guarantees and legal language.
Dan Ariely is the author of the best-selling book, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, (HarperCollins).
Join us for a workshop to explore alternative methods of exchange. The focus is on a possible future ecosystem – in a new world where today’s ageing, less useful and even dangerous financial systems are replaced by (or mixed with) more disruptive innovations and exchanges. Imagine yourself deprived of all of today’s financial resources. Maybe you’re a refugee or stateless. Yet you still have your handset and laptop and Internet and a broadband cellphone connection….
This is one of the provocations posed on KashKlash , an open forum and web project focusing on alternative economies in a post-money future. What will such a world look like? How will the concept of value be measured? What concepts will shape the formal and informal economies? Bright thinkers from around the world came together to discuss, debate and ideate in this innovative and exciting project.
KashKlash is a collaborative project between Heather Moore of Vodafone, Irene Cassarino, Mark Vanderbeeken and Michele Visciola of Experientia and a group of independent visionaries. The project started with four bright and innovative provocateurs, Nicolas Nova, Joshua Klein, Bruce Sterling, and Régine Debatty, and as the debate gathered steam, contributions, comments, flickr photos and twitter streams rolled in from more than 50 additional participants to shape and envision possible futures.
Intrigued? We are looking forward to exchanging ideas with you. See you at the workshop!
Lifestream – Visualizing my data
Explorations of large quantity information visualization
Current technologies allow people to capture, warehouse and retrieve vast amounts of data; more information than we can comprehend as individuals – more than we will ever need. As we move through our days, generating text messages, phone calls, photos, documents, and their inherent metadata, we are not conscious of the cloud of information that we create and carry with us.
In a world where we are constantly bombarded by more information than we can process, it is tempting to entrust this information to computers to store and organise for us. It is tempting to think that the more we store, the safer our memories and important ideas are. We let paradigms that are logical for computers govern the way our personal data is organised and accessed, at the expense of more human forms of interaction.
This workshop explores new paradigms to overcome the defects of current visualization methods. How can interfaces support traditional ways of coping with large amounts of information? How best can we facilitate such cognitive processes such as forgetting and constructing memories? Can our data be presented to us in such a way that it accrues layers of meaning, enhances nostalgia about our past, keeps us in contact with the present, while aiding us in thinking ahead? How can we design information patterns to make visible the connections, patterns and coincidences in our lives, remind us of favourite memories and moments, and allow all that is no longer relevant to fall away like dust.
The workshop by Willem Boijens, Vodafone, and Jan-Christoph Zoels, Experientia will introduce insights and examples of information visualizations, engage the participants in interactive exercises and team discussions.
I might want to add that the original concepts on both projects stem from Willem Boijens (Vodafone) as well, who was also the driving force in making sure that these projects would be presented at the LIFT conference.
A third workshop might be added still. More soon.
Around the globe, various initiatives use the mobile phone to provide financial services to those without access to traditional banks. Yet relatively little scholarly research explores the use of these m-banking/m-payments systems. This paper calls attention to this gap in the research literature, emphasizing the need for research focusing on the context(s) of m-banking/m-payments use.
Presenting illustrative data from exploratory work with small enterprises in urban India, it argues that contextual research is a critical input to effective “adoption” or “impact” research.
Further, it suggests that the challenges of linking studies of use to those of adoption and impact reflect established dynamics within the Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD) research community.
The paper identifies three crosscutting themes from the broader literature—amplification vs. change, simultaneous causality, and a multi-dimensional definition of trust—each of which can offer increased theoretical clarity to future research on m-banking/m-payments systems.