Busting the myth of solo genius: Why we built a community of people to co-create our product
By Angana Sripur · · 5 min read
I want you to perform a small exercise in your free time (please don’t abandon my blog post in this pursuit because what I have to say next is intriguing, to say the least). Here goes: Open your search bar. Search for the term ‘Banking co-creation’. Chances are that you will be met with an insipid results page with incomprehensible terms such as framework determinants, co-profiting, and jumping into your neighbor’s pool. We bet you didn’t even notice that last part because of how boring that sentence was.
Back in 2016, Forbes made a striking declaration ‘Customer co-creation is the secret sauce to success’. This doesn’t come as a surprise, considering major brands like LEGO and IKEA have been embracing co-creation concepts for the last two decades. From origami experiments to food toppings and stuffed animals to video editing software, co-creation really did seem to be setting a creative exemplar for businesses.
Cut to 2020 and we have co-created cities (Rajneeshpuram anyone?), brands, TV commercials, global supply chains, and healthcare startups. This makes it astonishing that banking co-creation is nowhere in the offing. Most companies have used this insight to host hackathons, launch special projects, and experiment with their new initiatives.
At Jupiter, we took this up a notch.
Altering the course of banking
Ask anyone in India about their grouse with the current banking system and their answer won’t surprise you any more than that family member you’ve never met who wishes to see you in holy matrimony- One doesn’t ever feel truly heard. From dismal customer experiences to indecipherable bank statements, the current closed-door system indicates that our banks just aren’t listening to us.
Our mandate was thus clear, build a banking experience that works for you. To do this we took a product development approach that keeps users at its centre. Our community shapes our product at every step of the product journey and forms the synthesis of our brand. So much so, that our product roadmap is pretty much built by you.
When you have a community-first product approach, co-creation isn’t just a marketing gimmick, it’s about really creating value. It’s about diving into the nuances of every single thought that our members have put out there. It’s about deliberation and reflection on how we can take your brainchild and turn it into a useful product feature.
Starting with deep discourse
One of the earliest thoughts on our community forum talked about the need to be able to see one’s ‘True balance’ – your month-end balance after removing all upcoming fixed expenses. What a strikingly useful suggestion!
If you’ve been part of the Indian banking system for long enough, chances are that you’ve gone through another agony– ‘Why can’t I see all of my banking fees and charges upfront?’ We all know that finding these charges feels harder than if one played legends of the Hidden Temple (90’s kids will get it).
Another relatable conversation we were having was about the need for a ‘Financial wellness score‘. Like a credit score, but one that’s a lot more holistic. Or this honest advertising thread, a summary of our gripe with banking institutions since forever. (This specific concern makes us at Jupiter, take our fine print very seriously*).
Our community forum enables members to be able to air their collective anguish, and build a support system of people who care about the same things. A forum that helps us create mutual value, and find solutions that benefit the community and us, while we ensure the equitable distribution of this value.
We maintain homogeneity of vision and heterogeneity of experiences ( David Vélez, founder of Nubank mentioned this is an important pillar of a business). This is probably the most lucid way to summarise why community co-creation makes our product finer. It allows us to accommodate different perspectives from people of various backgrounds and needs, and make well-informed decisions based on these diverse criteria.
Creating intrinsic rewards
We live in a culture where economic value is considered the cornerstone of happiness, whereas successful co-creation creates intrinsic value in the form of rewarding experiences. Products designed to provide a superior experience and reduce one’s pain points seem like a far better proposition than that one-time fifty percent discount offer.
People also value an item they own a lot more than an identical item that isn’t owned by them (the endowment effect). By letting you co-create our product we let you be our biggest brand advocates, instead of telling you how awesome we are or why you should use our product. The flip side? You’re also our biggest critic.
This means that we’re committed to seeing every idea through its lifecycle. We’re ready to feel constantly challenged, test new ideas, and break the status-quo. We diligently assess every probable roadblock that could slow down execution, but we don’t shy away from getting out of the ‘safe zone’. We’re also prepared to use your criticism constructively, to consistently make our product better.
We do this by way of creating a constant two-way dialogue with you. We host Testing Thursday sessions, where we take one-on-one feedback about the product features we’re building.
A while ago, we asked you one debit card feature you can’t live without. From simple cash-back features to Augmented Reality-powered ideas, we saw a plethora of responses pouring in. Every two weeks our community team sits down to table over a hundred ideas like this and decisions on how to implement them. We feel great about seeing an idea through its entire lifecycle. It’s what gives us those Friday night kicks.
To sum it up, there are five co-creation axioms we live by:
Intrinsic rewards > Bloated offers
Heterogeneity of experiences > Sameness
Mutual value > One-sided manifestos
Developing an enjoyable feedback loop > One-time ratings
Jumping outta the comfort zone > Safe hacks
If you’re mildly intrigued after reading this or simply curious about what product co-creation looks like, then we suggest you take a look at our community forum. Whether you’re a tech evangelist, finance geek, marketing professional, sales executive, engineer, writer, juggler, or just a human being who wants to break up with the banking experience that you’re currently in a relationship with, then you’re going to love this.
Here’s the rad part- You can be as little or as deeply involved as you wish, from banter about how people wish they’d treated their money in their 20’s to Testing Thursday sessions where you get to give us feedback about the features we’re building.
Evolution beckons you to co-create
If I were to quote our old mate and immensely stylish Greek philosopher Aristotle, “Man is by nature a social animal; anyone who does not partake of society is either a beast or a god”.
Now this very quotable quote has many connotations, but I’d like to think that it hints at the unavoidable nature of seeking shared experiences. Co-creation in essence enables exactly this. It allows people to channel their creativity and expression to create joint value for governments, economies, societies, and now companies. It allows them not only to come together to share their woes and desires but to let their opinions shape the future.
Co-create with us.
*We don’t even do fine print.
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