Karandaaz Providing Grants to Engage Design Experts for Digital Financial Service Providers

Islamabad (Muhammad Yasir) Karandaaz Design Thinking as a Service Program has been subsidizing design thinking services since last year for digital financial service providers that offer products through mobile and web-based platforms. This year Karandaaz is again offering an opportunity for entities that have an existing mobile or web-based platform of their product or service or intend to develop one, to apply for matching grants from Karandaaz for contracting design thinking services. For this, Karandaaz has formed a panel of top-of-the-line design thinking service providers and is subsidizing their services for the applicants through matching grants.

Financial products can be complex and may appear more daunting for a majority of the population when presented digitally. Hence a majority of the population, especially in an economy with low literacy levels and even more inadequate financial literacy, are unable to benefit from them. This limitation results in lower understanding, lack of trust, lesser adoption, and the potential of such products to impact financial inclusion remains untapped. This year Karandaaz has further fine-tuned the program and increased the matching grant amount to up to PKR. 1 Million. The design agencies that Karandaaz has included in the panel are Ideate Innovation, Designist, and Systems Limited, all with a proven track record of solving design problems for renowned organizations through the use of best international practices of human-centered design. For each applicant, the most appropriate design thinking service provider from the panel will be selected on cost and quality-based criteria. The last date to apply under this program is April 18, 2021. Interested entities can apply online at bit.ly/design_Karandaaz

Ali Sarfraz, CEO Karandaaz while talking about the significance of Design Thinking as a Service Program said, “Incorporating human centered design in digital financial products can lower the complexity, break barriers, and improve customer understanding, trust, and adoption of such offerings. Many upcoming digital financial service providers are unable to engage expert design thinkers while developing solutions due to the paucity of resources and resultantly miss out on critical insights, skills, and knowledge of international best practices. Lower adoption of such products means segments of the population that can be brought in to the folds of formal financial systems through digital technology, miss out on this opportunity. We are confident that the subsidy offered by Karandaaz will bridge this gap and improve the efficacy of homegrown solutions.”

Rehan Akhtar, Chief Digital Officer, Karandaaz said, “Interested entities that are operating in the financial services space or are leveraging financial services e.g. payments for their products or services and are passionate about making it easier for their customers to understand and better engage with digital payments may also apply under this Design Thinking as a Service Program. We are hopeful that more players from the digital financial industry will take this opportunity to get expert design thinkers to help them develop intuitive and human-centered designs that may attract more customers that previously only relied on conventional financial systems or remained financially excluded.”  

Ali Farid Khwaja, Chairman KASB, one of the companies to have availed this opportunity last year, said, “The grant from Karandaaz has been extremely helpful in getting us new insights into the customer preferences and behaviors through a human-centered approach to design. It led us to completely restrategize and change our approach to our product KFunds, a savings and investment platform. The focused design recommended by the design agency that was on Karandaaz panel of expert firms was refreshing and helped us in identifying the customers’ pain points and defining an experience journey based on intuitive design.”

According to the World Bank Global Findex Survey 2017, Pakistan is one of the few countries where the digital gender gap has increased. Under Design Thinking as a Service Program, Karandaaz has kept an exclusive category for women-centric ideas and encourages the digital financial service providers to implement product and service designs that particularly improve the adoption and retention of women customers.