Design Thinking: Creative Problem Solving for FinTech Startups

By Fire Labs Team | Sep 23, 2019

Tänker du på prototypdesign så borde du använda metoden Design Sprint. Detta tillvägagångssätt kommer att underlätta arbetet med att ta fram prototyper av din digitala produkt. Vi har experter på Design Sprint ser till att ditt projekt får en så bra start som möjligt genom problemanalys och se till att användare får maximalt med nytta av lösningen. I processen kommer problem och risker att uppmärksammas och lösas med innovativa och affärsmässiga lösningar.

All your friends have already tested their ideas and solved their problems. And you want to be one of them? We have already written about design sprints. In this article, we want to talk about how can FinTech Startups benefit from using a design thinking approach. This would be useful both for existing startups with validated ideas that want to scale with new features and for those who want to create a new product.

If you want to get a better understanding of how a business can benefit from this methodology, there would be some insights at the end. Also, there will be a special offer for our new customers from our design thinking experts.

To solve a problem you should think like a problem

No joke!

Before we begin, we would like to say a few words about the process that lies beyond the design thinking strategy. The best thing in design thinking is that it is human-centered, that is why all solutions generated during its sessions are focused on people who are gonna use them.

Originally it consists of 5 steps:

  1. Empathize
  2. Define
  3. Ideate
  4. Prototype
  5. Test

First things first

The process of Design Thinking starts with an empathic understanding of the problem that needs to be solved. During this stage, you can consult with field experts, observe potential customers, to understand their experiences and motivation. Empathy is crucial, it'll help you walk a mile in customers' shoes.

Defining the problem

The most important part of the whole process is taking the correct question. The right question usually contains 90% of an answer. So in this step, you analyze all the information gathered in step one and try to formalize the problem. After that, you form a "How can we?" question to solve the problem.

Creativity part

Ideation sessions are all about finding new approaches. There are hundreds of different ideation techniques you can use. Some of the most popular are:

  • Brainstorming
  • Mindmapping
  • Sketching
  • Storyboarding

Conducting this session will help the team find the vision of a design solution to the problem.


The next step is building a prototype. Here you gather all you have from the ideation sessions and build a demo prototype on top of that. Try to make it simple so that potential customers could understand them without extra guidance.


Find a relevant test audience and show your prototype to them. It's important to prepare well for the interviews with customers so that you always know what to ask. Use open questions more often and try to avoid those that could be answered yes or no. Recommendation: "The mom test" book by Rob Fitzpatrick.

It's very important to involve people with different experiences to participate in those activities. This can help people share their knowledge and as a result, come up with some innovative solutions. But try to be sure that everyone from the team is on the same wave, that everyone is heard and respected. People should feel comfortable and calm to generate innovative ideas.

To help the magic happen it's important to involve a facilitator. An experienced person who can run the process and align participants is a must. Without proper facilitation, the whole meeting will become a mess. There are many techniques that can be used during such sessions, for example, Google uses "together along".

Its main idea is that at every step people work on the solution separately and anonymously and then discuss them and vote for the best one. It's very important to make some clear visual outcomes so that the idea could be understood without asking extra questions, remember, we don't want to disguise the author.

Few words about problems you may face during the process that could be solved with good facilitation:

  • Lots of ideas that have bad quality. (The team can vote for the best one. And facilitator can help with the process).
  • Some participants can hog the blanket. (A well arrange process will make this impossible)
  • People can use standard approaches because they are afraid of criticism. (On some steps anonymous ideas pitching may be used).

Some useful tips:

  • Invite people from support. If it's a live product. Usually, they know lots of insights;
  • Involve advisors to your votings;
  • Try to make the process less formal, as it may kill creativity;
  • Sometimes it's better to do more iterations with shorter cycles.

Warning: Insights here!

One of the most challenging things for a new FinTech product is the onboarding of new customers. A lot of users drop because of the unclear, boring process of onboarding. In modern reality, a product will rarely have a second chance to be liked. So you need to be very careful.

Not so long ago we were analyzing a marketing campaign for one local FinTech. And they spent a lot of money to reach a young audience of 25-35 years on Youtube via banners. But the conversion was very low, so we conducted some interviews with the target audience. After just a few of them, we realized that most of the potential customers were using the AdBlock feature. So the advertisement had no chance to reach them.

In the design thinking process, testing is one of the core principles. If everything was performed according to the technology, testing would have been conducted in advance and the risk of wasting a big budget on a marketing campaign that doesn't reach customers would be minimized.

Some conclusions

The true understanding of design thinking gives the confidence to work on problems that don't have clear answers. This helps to come up with innovative ideas. One of the best points of the design thinking approach is showing the unfinished work.

Using a design thinking approach gives a great opportunity to unleash the creative potential of a team. Also, the FinTech field can benefit from the design thinking approach as it is a non-linear process, meaning you can get back to the previous step easily. In classic business methodologies, it's often hard to take a step back.

For FinTech, design thinking can suggest the start from some earlier stages like positioning (ex. How might we inspire people to invest, rather than how to make a deposit easier).

If we have a closer look at the FinTech domain we can see that more and more companies are making a focus on their interfaces (N26, Monobank).

Have a question?

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