Problem: The Vanguard Group, founded over 40 years ago (currently manages $5.1 trillion in assets), weren’t getting as many millennial customers as they would like. They asked us to discover unmet needs of Millennials and find ways to better position themselves to younger generations
Insights: When Millennials do have enough money to invest they aren’t always sure how to best manage their money. Money can feel taboo to talk about sometimes, but they do want to. It can be difficult to understand the full picture when there are so many disconnected ways money is spent. But how can you do that and overcome trust issues after the financial crisis of 2008?
Final Output: Using design thinking methodology, our research led us to identify gaps surrounding three central customer drivers: authenticity, accessibility, and affirmation. We then identified a number of short, mid, and long term strategies which would allow Vanguard to effectively close these gaps — attracting and retaining the millennial customer segment. We presented our findings to the Vanguard team who validated our findings internally.
Click here to view the full presentation with insights and recommendations.
Business Design: Breaking Habits
Problem: Nearly everyone struggles with a bad habits. Nearly 1 in 4 people have nail or cuticle-centric bad habits. Starting with this particular issue, how might we help people break the habit?
Insights: Habits are a mind-body problem. Existing solutions either solely address the mind or the body, never both. When it comes to the mechanics of nail/cuticle picking, pickers often rely on a dominant finger.
Final Output: A working business plan and prototype for a start-up: Habit Rehab. Habit Rehab tackles specific habits with packages of paired tangibles and intangibles, addressing both the emotional and physical aspects of the problem. The physical item, or “secret weapon” is designed to physically help individuals break their habit. The emotional assistance is comprised of videos and coaching on how to break bad habits and replace them with good ones.
The first habit that is addressed is nail/cuticle picking, for which the secret weapon is a ring worn at the end of the dominant picking finger. This blocks the nail, inhibiting picking, yet is also beautiful and socially acceptable (unlike wearing gloves or band-aids, as self-help sites suggest).
Problem: After 75 years in the community of Abington, Pennsylvania, the Abington Arts Center (the AAC) was faced with intense competition for attention and decreasing donations (as is now the case for many non-profit arts organizations). How might the (very traditional) AAC disrupt their business model to make itself more relevant to the changing needs of the community and the modern world?
Insights: The community’s needs are vast and fall into four groups: current AAC students, local residents, local college students, and members of partner organizations. The AAC would need to create an experience that is meaningful for all the groups and encourages mutual growth.
Final Output: We presented the AAC board with feasible short and mid-term strategies, as well as long-view business model innovations; these various levels met the needs of our different personas.
Frameworks/Research Methodology: Interviews, empathic user maps, motivational ladders, town-hall co-creation, experimentation, SWOT analysis, business model canvas, service blueprint, importance-difficulty matrix, round robin positioning, value proposition canvas, personas, secondary research, etc.