Glasgow School of Art
Client | Royal Bank of Scotland
September 2015 - February 2016

The Future of Banking is a collaborative design research project between the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Glasgow school of Art, devised to explore scenarios concerning the personal finance of 16-25 year olds as they move towards the year 2025. The collaboration builds visions of these possible future scenarios using multiple user perspectives, providing ideas for focused innovation stemming from credible research evidence. The aims of the collaboration were to understand societal shifts in the Millennial generation and their effect on the future of baking, as well as to critique our process.

It was undertaken by a team of 8 MEdes students, 2 graduates of BDes Product Design and 2 graduates of MDes Design Innovation. The team of 12 was subdivided into 4 teams, focussing on 4 distinct domain areas of research:

New Values.
Safety and Security
Saving and Spending

The first phase of desk and ethnographic research was largely cross-domain in order to create a shared vision and context from which to ideate. This was achieved through the creation of personas from interviews and a future world which was captured our collective trend research into one communication artefact.  



As part of the New Values domain, our focus was to seek opportunities for RBS to restore Millennials "lost-faith". Based on our research we found most Millennials felt the bank did not have a large enough context of them. We hypothesised this was because the bank primarily collects data on on their customers financial assets as opposed to other things they value, creating a very narrow common ground. As a result we described millennials relationship with RBS as being clinical: they contact the bank if they have a problem and use transaction services as a necessity.

In order to understand what sort of relationship they would like we facilitated a user testing session to understand what they thought the bank valued now, and what their ideal bank would value. We adapted Shalom Schwartz' value framework as an exercise for the participants to map out values and open a dialogue about their relationship with their bank. As discussing values can be ambiguous  as they are hypothetical until put into action, we designed new financial services which embodied different values to help participants relate to the future scenarios. This research was captured through a colourful tool which allowed facilitators to see and discuss which values the participants were gravitating towards, encouraging them to voice their thought-process. 


Within our domains we compared data and extracted key insights from our user testing sessions. As team we created a format from which our deliverables could be packaged and transferred. Reaching the conclusion of our project we felt confident in handing over a clear set of design recommendations, thoroughly supported by research across each domain, that the RBS design team can use as a tool in future projects. The handover was also supported by a team presentation that captured the depth of the analysis, methodology and recommendations.

Through this process we demonstrated the value of seeing a project through from start to finish, to allow for a team to grow and embedded knowledge to flourish into design recommendations, rather than get lost in translation.

Working in a large collaborative highlighted the importance of being adaptable, managing expectations and structuring our workflow to allow for introspection of behaviour and communication. Learning to navigate these issues was key to each member being able to establish ownership, retain a clear narrative and add value to the project.

The project did not propose design solutions and the outcomes presented were intended as conceptualisations of research findings, which would ideally be used by the bank as starting points for further exploration and research.

In collaboration with 

Will Brown 
Robyn Johnston
Amber Jones
Josefine Leonhardt 
Alexandra kozawska
Ottavia Pasta 
Eloise Smith-Foster

Struan Wood
Josh Woolliscroft
Ole Tørresen
Rosie Trudgen