We recently held the inaugural meeting of The Financial Planning Innovation Co-Operative in London. Its aim is to foster innovation in Financial Planning through the sharing of ideas globally. I like the following quote:
“We often use the words “creativity” and “innovation” interchangeably but we should not. Creativity is about coming up with ideas while innovation is about “bringing ideas to life.” While individuals may display creativity, innovation occurs in the organisational context only, by bringing creative ideas to life.”
Source: Business Improvement Architects website
The group will meet online several times throughout the year to discuss innovative thinking and to connect innovators from across the world. Anyone with an innovative idea or subject will be free to submit a video presentation and supporting information. All outputs and discussions from the group will be made freely available online for anyone to access. It is our hope that viewers will be able to critique, add to and use the ideas in their own locations and their own business environments to “bring these ideas to life”.
Reinventing Service Delivery
The first presentation drew from an article that appeared in Harvard Business Review in December 2012, “4 Ways To Reinvent Service Delivery”. A health care example provided the catalyst for some thinking about new ways to structure services in Financial Planning. Here’s a snippet of the idea:
- Traditionally, cardiology patients are allotted 30 minutes with a Doctor one to one
- A new service was created called Club Red which gave them a choice:
a) One to one appointment
b) Or 90 minute shared appointment (with up to 11 other patients)
- In the shared appointment the Doctor:
a) Provides individual advice
b) Goes over prescriptions
c) Orders tests
d) Discusses progress, challenges and future treatment options for each patient
- The consultation is confidential, but not private
- This is a big deal in health care where personal service and privacy are considered sacrosanct.
Obviously shared appointments improved productivity. In 90 minutes a Doctor can see 10-12 patients rather than 3-5. Interestingly the patients preferred it as well. Satisfaction scores were 98%; even higher than for one to one appointments. Why?
- There were shorter waiting times for appointments (patients can drop in to any group)
- Patients learn by listening to other interactions between the doctor and other patients in the group
- As a result they become more knowledgeable about their condition
Counter intuitively, Club Red members develop a stronger connection with the Doctor by observing his/her empathy and connection with other patients. The health outcomes are actually better too with obese patients (for example) achieving higher weight loss than after 1:1 consults. The article’s authors went on to say that innovations that redefine service delivery are rare because generally they are not driven by disruptive technologies. Industries confronted by a disruptive technology are forced to confront their basic assumptions. Service industries’ rarely face this challenge and so struggle to overcome the mentality of:
- “That’s not how we do it”
- “Our clients don’t expect that”
Application to your business
This fascinating case study got me to thinking about delivery of advice in our profession. What if the one to one model was not the only way to deliver advice? What if group delivery of financial advice could not only improve productivity for businesses, but increase learning and satisfaction outcomes for clients, as well as reducing the cost of accessing face to face advice? Plenty to ponder if you are looking to be an innovator or you are at a crossroads in your current business. For access to the full presentation (about 20 mins long) plus the ensuing discussion please click here. Alternatively, below is the presentation from the meeting. It covers off a range of ways that the ideas could be applied to a Financial Planning business. If you are interested in the original article please click here to view it on the HBR website.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Have you been doing something like this in your business already? Can you see the potential for experimenting with this in your firm?
If you want more direct assistance with this or any other aspect of your business drop me a line at [email protected] or give me a call on 0333 939 0027.
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