29 May 2019 Inside Innovation: Nationwide Building Society
FOLLOWING YOUR NOSE – NATIONWIDE’S APPROACH TO DIGITAL INNOVATION
Ever wanted to know what it’s like to work in innovation at one of the nation’s favourite brands? Our Inside Innovation series aims to do just that.
This month we’re giving you the inside track on innovation at Nationwide.
Meet Jag Bassi
We grabbed a hard-won slot in Jag Bassi’s diary and he gave us a quick peak into a day in his life as Head of Digital Product and Propositions at the world’s largest building society. Jag’s team operates as custodians of the digital platform roadmap at Nationwide. They look after the website, the app, internet banking and new projects.
A typical day for Jag involves (too many!) meetings, conference calls and workshops.
He says: “Essentially my role entails any conversation from the inception to the end of life of a product. It can be very hands on. I regularly roll my sleeves up. But I’ll switch from that to talking strategy, innovation and overall direction of travel.”
When we talked, six weeks ahead of the big day, Jag’s team were already well into planning for the peak traffic volumes expected on November’s Black Friday. And switching from that into looking at their app strategy for the next five years.
Jag faces significant challenges in terms of leading innovation in his role. At the heart is the need to ensure that all of Nationwide’s customers, no matter their attitude to money or depth of fiscal understanding, are making the right financial decision for them.
It can’t be too easy, but it also can’t be too hard. Future innovation in financial services will reside in the ability to deliver solutions that are tailored to the individual. That’s complex but there’s lots of room for improvement in helping people to manage their money better.
That’s the mission that Jag’s team are on. Constantly looking at how they can shape the future digital customer experience – including how they can use data and AI. And they use as much data as they can get their hands on. Incorporating consumer insight from many sources with user design principles they use a double diamond sprint model: diverging to ideate widely before converging on solutions to take to prototype.
So how do Jag and his team keep their knowledge current?
He says: “I encourage my team to read wide and go where their nose takes them. You see something on behavioural economics? Read it. You see something on AI? Read it. To be good in product management you have to be a jack of all trades. You need to join the dots.”