Nokia 206 Feature Phone

I sometimes forget about the novelty of not using a smartphone.

But there was a time when I turned off the iPhone for an extended period, funnily enough upon starting a job to design and build a new “digital only” banking proposition.

Taking the challenge very seriously, one of the first things I did was go out and buy a classic Nokia 206 feature phone. And by that I mean, a phone that doesn’t do email, nor does it offer social media, instant messaging, chat etc.

Just good old 2G connectivity at your fingertips. The date was 20 Nov 2013 to be precise. Did the bank make a mistake hiring me? They probably wondered at the time.

However, this slightly “strange” behaviour of mine was founded in some deep service design principles. And whilst I am not one of those trendy service designer folk, I knew enough that the best research often starts by stepping into the shoes of the very people you are trying to understand (nb. social scientists call this ethnographic research).

And so for the period of the digital research project, I “became” one of the bank’s analogue clients – the very people we were interested in trying to better understand, and ideally reach out to with the new digital proposition somehow.

The project was a success.

But a digital banking platform is just a digital banking platform and something I can’t get too excited about. But improving your daily life such that you simply forget to turn on the iPhone again, well that really was something.

Frank Ray Consulting. Software requirements for agile development teams, particularly remote, outsourced and offshore development teams working in financial services.

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