As someone who thinks everyday about building and nurturing consumer financial health through my work with Mint, I was thrilled to talk about innovation at scale at The Center for Financial Services Innovation’s (CFSI) Emerge 2016 Forum. Emerge is a leading annual conference for those in the financial services and technology space working to innovate and improve consumer financial health outcomes. Thanks to CFSI’s efforts, led by Jennifer Tescher and John Thompson, those engaged in increasing financial services access is ever expanding.

In this post, I want to share four points from my on-stage conversation with John Thompson.

Managing money is the #1 form of stress in America.

Stress impacts our physical and mental health, family and relationships, jobs and aspirations. And managing money is a major source of everyday stress for many Americans. For example, a third of Americans have missed a bill in the last 12 months. The cost of overdraft or other financial fees are staggering. And the median transaction that triggers an overdraft is $36.

I share these statistics because this is a real consumer problem that requires developing innovative financial management tools, which at its heart is driven by and dedicated to creating customer benefits. Thankfully, so many of the attendees at Emerge are focused exactly on that, whether it improves credit, budgeting, cash flow, or other aspects of a consumer’s financial life.

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Trackers and Slackers both have the same need for financial management tools.

Looking across the Mint customer base, most users typically fall into one of two groups: Trackers and Slackers. Trackers represent 10 percent to 20 percent of the population and are detailed in everyday financial management – think of those who religiously balance the checkbook. The rest of us are Slackers; as the name suggests, less involved in day-to-day money management.

Roughly 2.6 million customers use Mint on a monthly basis out of a base of 7 million active annual users.

Despite a high or low propensity to track, we all need financial management tools to reduce the bandwidth needed to make financial decisions and help reduce the stress associated with money management. It’s up to the community of FinTech innovators to solve this problem, both for those who like to engage and for those less apt to do so.

 

Customer driven innovation is at the heart of everything we do.  

At Intuit, we pride ourselves in an innovation approach that ensures our work is focused on solving our customers’ biggest pain points. It’s called customer driven innovation and challenges us to:

  • Find an important, unsolved customer problem. Customer empathy is core to innovation. We talk to thousands of customers to understand their pain points.
  • That we, and those we enable, can solve well. We ask ourselves, what tools and solutions can we offer?
  • And build durable competitive advantage around it. For example, do you have a network effect in which it gets better as more people use it? Or virality in which it automatically grows and literally gets stronger while it sleeps?

 

The Love Metric is a helpful guiding principle for new FinTech solutions.

There is an important question to ask that guides new innovation development: Is your product actually delivering for the customer on the thing that is most important to them? If so, you will score high on the love metric. In short, the love metric is a tracker for how much real benefit you are giving to the customer. If they love it they will tell other people, helping the viability of your idea.

 

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The financial challenges and management problems are very real for millions of Americans. Thanks again to CFSI for convening Emerge 2016 and for leading the charge for better consumer financial health outcomes.

We look forward to continuing the dialogue that will shape innovation at scale for financial management solutions.