In a nutshell
As part of my Management Master at Hyper Island, my team ASK2D developed an educational and engaging solution for kids between 8–12 years old for the Swiss bank St. Galler Kantonalbank () using Design Thinking and Lean as frameworks.

The result was ‘Nickels’, a hyper-customised digital that seeks to support parents to teach their kids about money management (earning, saving and spending) based on each individual family. This mobile app encourages open conversation and empowers kids to propose and suggest interest rates, tasks and savings goals.

General Info
Client: St. Galler Kantonalbank (SGKB)
Brief receiver: Team ASK2D — Hyper Island.
Project: Digital solution to engage kids
Duration: 4 weeks (June, 2018)
My Role: Facilitation and Kanban Ninja

Create a digital engaging product for kids between 8–12 years old for the regional bank SGKB.

How might SGKB approach parents and kids to engage them into a life-long loyalty?

Establishing the team
The team was set by five Digital Management students from different backgrounds and industries. As Hyper Island students we understood the importance of a team in every design process; therefore one of the first groups activities was to approach the Team Charter Canvas (Van der Pijl, P. et al., 2016). This tool helped us determine the group’s name, align expectations, goals and roles. At the same time, it allowed the now team ASK2D to establish ground rules and behaviours.

The Process
As the image below shows, the team tackled the client’s brief with the Design Councils’ Double Diamond followed by two iterations of Lean Startup that led us to our final solution.


Description of the process

The team decided to start by elaborating an assumption map to identify the relevant topics for our project and demystify personal beliefs. Afterwards, the team divided topics among its members for desk research to understand more about the industry and its challenges, the needs and wishes of parents, kids behaviour online and what other experiences or products competitors and fintechs where already in the market.

To complement our findings and answer our assumption map, ASK2D decided to proceed with primary research. The members interviewed four swiss young adults to learn about their first experience with money and banks. Additionally, developed a survey to gather more information and insights from parents.

The team downloaded and clustered the insights as shown in the image below.

The main findings the team found were:

  • 91% of Swiss parents believe it’s their responsibility to teach their kids how to handle money. Almost half of them lack the confidence in doing it.
  • Parenting is not just one formula
  • 97% of Swiss children have access to an online device, ironically increasing the sense of isolation.
  • The exchange of physical money is fading away. Money now is an abstract concept.
  • A challenge in education is now how to peak kids’ interest and engage them to participate.

ASK2D began questioning how kids should be approached by companies. a product/service for kids represents a significant challenge and responsibility for organisations and in that line the team acknowledged three basic principles:

Subsequently, the team considered the new data policy (GDPR) in relation to children and parents (Berman, G., Albright, K.,2017).

Framing the Challenge
ASK2D needed to frame the challenge and continued with a ‘How Might We’ (HMW) session that was set with (IDEO U., 2018) Mash-Up to unleash creativity and a regular HMW approach that helped us to converge towards our goal: How might SGKB approach parents and kids to engage them into a life-long loyalty?

The big idea was a result of the application of two ideation tools: Crazy 8’s and Storyboarding. The divergent thinking process started again with all range of ideas. Converging represented a challenge for the team but the Impact/Effort Matrix encouraged us to narrow ideas, prioritise and reach consensus.

The team agreed that our solution should be gamified, promote interaction not only in the digital but in the physical world and include parents. The team managed to identify three fundamental goals: promote and help children to: Earn, Save and Spend smartly.

Following, we approached the Idea Napkin tool to define our solution and also brainstormed the main features of our digital solution with the help of an adapted version of the Kano Model. ASK2D decided on four essential features to be presented to the client for the idea validation.

Idea: Customisable digital experience to help kids earn, save, and spend smartly.

– Ebay for Kids 
– Rewards (example: customisable interest rate)
– Chore List
– Wish list

This core idea was explained (pitched) to two parents that helped us improve the features for the presentation to the client.

The idea was presented to Falk Kohlman, Head of Digital Banking at SGKB. The team explained the research results and the importance of creating a customisable digital experience that can fit every family. The feedback was positive and the client agreed that the digital experience should be tangibilized with a mobile app.

SGKB Head of Digital Banking, asked us to develop the ideas and deliver them in a way the were appealing for children.

Consequently we needed to build a prototype and test the idea promptly to obtain better feedback. The team discussed if our MVP should be tested on kids; but the ethical implications to be examined and represented a challenge, the members agreed only to test it with parents.

The idea and features were tested again. The parents feedback helped us understand better their needs and the context concerning kids and apps. Most of the features were appealing to parents and reassured our previous work.

More Research to Define and Prototype towards Iteration
The team analysed the feedback and decided to iterate and go back to research and investigate more on what the competitors were doing and what elements were the most appealing for kids.

We proceeded to set the features of the app and created our own matrix (based on the User Story tool from Agile) to help us visualise pain points of parents and kids and match them with real features to build our first MVP.

The team understood we had to work on two different interfaces: kids and parents. With this clear, we began prototyping the MVP and testing the flow and design with /UI designers and the idea with parents following the Lean Startup approach that helped us get rid of features and details that were not needed.

The result was our final solution, a mobile app named ‘Nickels’; a customised digital experience which empowers parents to teach kids money management based on the needs of every individual family. It provides customised modules in Earn, Save and Spend to be tailored for different family situations. Nickels, make it your way, is more than just money, it teaches kids about setting goals, having patience and making smart choices while promoting open communication with their family. It nurtures the confidence in kids to take charge of their lives.

In the following Figure, the features are briefly detailed.

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