Purpose-Driven Investments

This initiative signified the initiation of the Design with Foresight research program. In this initiation project, the Principal Investigator assembled a team of young designers from Master and Bachelor Degree program backgrounds to delineate, design, discover, and define innovations in wealth management.

Looking five years into the future, the program goal was to envisage customer-centric innovations targeted at emerging affluent Chinese consumer markets in Hong Kong and Tier 1 cities throughout China. The project team, engaging with various business and consumer stakeholder groups over a period of four months, was able to leverage an outside-in perspective while remaining firmly focused on designing value that is transformative in scale, and inspirational to a multitude of stakeholders within the Financial Services industry.


Design-led Innovation Process

Workshop: The workshop applied Design Thinking and Co‐creation methods to address the questions of the new space of collaboration by the following:

Explore and share information about Wealth Management and Design-led Innovation; create empathy and bond as a team and prototype modes of working together; establish a collaborative innovation platform that will serve as the foundation for a long-term partnership.

Empathy Maps: A framework for describing how a person (or in this case, an organization) feels toward a specific situation or phenomenon. Used to articulate the bank’s perspective on the issues of digital transformation, regulation, and disruption. These maps lay out different perspectives on risk and investments, as well as personal relationships, security, and trust in banking.

Stakeholders Map: While clients mostly interface with their advisor, many different stakeholders influence their experience with the bank. External stakeholders such as friends, family, and media influence their decision-making process; bank employees from compliance officers to technologists make sure that the client’s wealth management needs can be fulfilled in a timely and effective way.

Service Blueprint: Outlines the different layers of activities that go into the delivery of a service. Used to describe existing and new services. The team developed two blueprints—one which displays the client experience in its current state, and one with insights into where it can be optimized.

Customer lifecycle journeys: Laying out the main milestones in a client’s experience with a service. The team compiled a journey map of the overall wealth management experience. The map also articulates which touchpoints clients have with the bank at each step along their journey.

Scenario Prototyping: After research and analysis of clients, trends, wealth management, and the bank, the team put together its findings to identify seven potential themes to innovate. The designers explored each theme with the Core Leadership Group and Brand Support Group to identify strengths, weaknesses, and feasibility.

From here, the group broke into three teams, and each given the mandate to address one topic with a scenario-based prototype.

The team formed three groups to work on the development of the scenario prototypes. The prototypes’ primary function was to elicit feedback (not solutions). The dialogue in the process formed important insight for the design phase.


Meaningful Relationships


Millennial Trust Part I & II


Design Concept: Anchored in aspirations of Chinese Millennials, the overarching concept is set out to help them discover, create, and pursue their purpose. Each of the innovation initiatives is strategically designed to reinforce the concepts of Discovering, Creating, and Pursuing your Purpose. Initiatives for innovating around this concept proposed different touchpoints of a client’s relationship with the bank.

Scenario Enactment (Video): A short futures scenario video was produced. The objective was to engage non-expert audiences in stimulating, inspiring, and experiential ways to imagine a preferable future in wealth management and private banking producer-consumer interactions.


The report findings were presented to senior executives and organizational stakeholders responsible for strategic innovation decision-making. This program resulted in changes of ways the organization was asking questions toward broader goals and objectives in the early stages of innovation.

Stakeholder audiences reported the effectiveness of ‘experiencing’ vivid and tangible futures scenarios to be more powerful than in written form.

Project Insights and Outcomes

Millennials: Entering their prime earning years, widely pursuing entrepreneurship, and will soon be inheriting from their parents. More important than the size of their market share is their cultural impact on other generations. Millennials’ culture of digital-literacy and purpose-driven work and new crowd-driven modes of authority are becoming the overall cultural norm. They are known for being digital, connected, and entrepreneurial—values that are now spreading throughout society. The Millennials way of doing things is the new way of doing things.

Technological and Economic lives: Millennials won’t tolerate a machine taking over their life, but still want technology to enhance and improve it at every possible chance. Millennials will manage their lives by outsourcing a huge portion of their chores to frictionless digital services. But they will still crave immersive experiences for the things they care about most. Like their selectivity in services and digital experience, Millennials will become more selective about the information they consume in the coming five years. People will be increasingly overwhelmed by navigating the plethora of information available to them. This effect is likely to intensify. Here, getting only the right information and nothing more will be a luxury.

Banking Sector: Online-only banks are already emerging in the commercial banking sphere, and will become even more numerous in the coming years. Their offering is especially compelling to digital-native Millennials who enjoy the ease-of-use and convenience of such platform. However, the online only format is an unlikely future for wealth management. Wealthy Millennials need more advice and support than such systems offer.

Chinese Millennials are looking for a sense of purpose. This project innovated around the concept of helping wealth management achieve that sense of purpose for the client. An experience that strongly resonates with the client’s aspirations, but most importantly, an experience that is coherent across touch points.