The Wrecking Crew
 
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Traditional Consulting is Dead.

 
The Problems with Traditional Design Consulting
We see four key problems with the traditional design consulting model: 1.) It is increasingly hard to outsource innovation, 2.) the nature of creative work is drastically changing, 3.) quality consultants are prohibitively expensive, and 3.) you buy the service before you know what you’re getting.

As the landscape changes, design consulting as we know it doesn’t meet companies basic needs for innovation anymore. We see design / innovation agencies being acquired by large organizations, bringing those capabilities in-house where they can be more tightly integrated in the organization. This puts any organizations that are still outsourcing their innovation at a disadvantage. With the advent of the creative gig economy, organizations’ abilities to attract and retain design talent is becoming increasingly difficult. Without the chains of a traditional employment arrangement, creatives are able to hop around as they please. The only way for organizations to respond to this trend is to lean in by becoming a destination for design—a place that attracts creative talent through expertise and sets them up for their next gig through mentorship.
 
Our Response: the openFCC
Last summer we ran the Future Cognition Collaborative (openFCC), an 8-week design sprint, to co-design and prototype a new model of design consulting and enable sponsoring organizations to “try before you buy.” openFCC teams are run in parallel, comprised of fellows/students, domain experts, and supporting advisors, with leadership from The Wrecking Crew.

The structure of the program is flexible to meet the needs of sponsoring organizations. Click here to see how last summer’s program was structured.

Last summer’s sprint was focused on the future of big data and social systems. Here’s what one of the 4-person fellowship teams co-created based on a strategic brief that was supplied by T-Mobile:
 
 
T-Mobile engaged the open FCC because they have a serious bill payment problem: every month, nearly 40% of T-Mobile's 60 million customers are late on their bill, adding up to a $700 million loss for T-Mobile each year. To kick off our 8-week sprint, T-Mobile flew down from Bellevue, Washington to meet with our team of fellows to workshop their brief. T-Mobile's financial team sought new ways to leverage their data to help its late-paying customers pay on time and improve their personal financial health in the process. The team approached this challenge by reframing it as a gap in customer loyalty by leveling up T-Mobile's customer service, and landed on a brief:
 
 
"What is the best way to empower T-Mobile customers to enhance their financial lives by leveraging wireless and other data to learn about, anticipate, and acquire products and services that meet their future financial needs?"
 
 
Over the next 2 weeks, the team set out to understand the late payment problem systemically. Meeting with both wireless customers who are chronically late on their bill payments and internal T-Mobile stakeholders, it became clear that:

1.) All late payers are not created equal.

2.) T-Mobile currently has trouble distinguishing between the different types of late payers and that costs them A LOT.

3.) Customers don’t know what data T-Mobile has about them and fear it’s being used “behind their back.”

4.) Customers with variable income have the money to pay but not always at the right time.

5.) Other customers don’t pay simply because they forget.

The opportunity was to increase on-time payments by classifying T-Mobile customers based on needs and giving tailored offers to each. The idea for Loyal-T emerged from the second workshop with T-Mobile. Leading up to the workshop, the team generated hundreds of ideas of potential ways to address the late payer problem and synthesized them into a few promising directions. T-Mobile guided us toward a feasible strategic direction, Loyal-T. Loyal-T is a new payment rewards platform that rewards customers for good financial behaviors by contextually providing them offers, leveraging T-Mobile's wireless data.
 
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How it works: Let’s say you’re a late payer with inconsistent income who’s also a bit forgetful. Knowing this, your local T-Mobile rep signs you up for Loyal-T. As you pay your T-Mobile bill each month, you earn T-Coins, which can be redeemed at local participating small businesses and T-Mobile itself. At checkout, you can make partial payments on your T-Mobile bill, so you never forget to pay. The Loyal-T app learns your financial behavior and intelligently suggests payment strategies that fit with your financial lifestyle, not the other way around.

At the end of the sprint, the team presented an experiential prototype of Loyal-T, along with a presentation for the refined design strategy to address the late payer problem.

 
 
“That was well worth my money. I’m already thinking of asking for money for next year to start thinking about the next level of engagement.”

— Sajey M.



“We’re excited about about this opportunity to take advantage of the brilliant minds in the room.”

— Chris H.
 
 
The beauty of this strategy is to get people to pay their bill when they have money, learn who they are on the fly, and tailor the promotions to align with real contextual needs. It is not only a loyalty platform but also an open platform that gives local small businesses a new, intelligent channel for reaching customers. This is a billion dollar solution for our clients, which positions T-Mobile to dominate SMBs market and secure that $700 Million debt.
 

Here's what we delivered to T-Mobile:

1. Interactive Prototype
A tangible vision prototype of a new loyalty network powered by T-Mobile's in-house cryptocurrency (T-Coins). The prototype was used by the team to share a compelling future vision with T-Mobile and as a tool for T-Mobile’s financial team to sell the idea internally.

Experience the Prototype on Your Phone


2. Strategy Presentation
A refined design strategy deck to address the late payer problem while simultaneously positioning T-Mobile to dominate the small business market. The strategy deck was presented to T-Mobile by our team of fellows during the third and final workshop. It’s being used by T-Mobile internally to support their vision for the future of T-Mobile financial services with human-centered insights.

Download the Presentation


3. UX Video
An end-to-end user experience video that illustrates how this tool seamlessly integrates into and improves the financial lives of users. The video was used by the fellows to communicate an end-to-end user experience vision to T-Mobile. It is being used by the T-Mobile financial team internally as a tool to build customer empathy and showcase how the solution seamlessly integrates into lives of users, improving their financial health.

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Co-create a new model of consulting with us.

Join the openFCC as a sponsoring thought partner.

What urgent business problem would you like the openFCC to help you with?
What big ideas do you have that your organization isn’t quite ready for yet?

Let’s make it real.