When I meditated upon this further, I realized at the core of this argument lies the belief that, instead of providing predefined choices to people, we need to provide them the flexibility of creating their own choices. Only then will they be motivated to adopt new behaviours. This also reflects on the current state of our society where we have moved on from the need to have an array of options to choose from, to a strong desire to create our own choices.
We need to rethink our approach to the design of financial products and services. Instead of going with the assumption that designing intuitive user interfaces and overcoming literacy barriers can make financial services more accessible to the poor, we need to enable them to start using financial tools more effectively. We not only need to understand their financial practices, habits and decisions, but more importantly, attempt to comprehend the mindsets that drive these behaviours. A deeper insight into how users think about their finances, needs, and goals could help us make a huge leap forward. This would be beneficial both for the financial inclusion of low-income populations, as well as to ensure broader uptake of financial products by the middle class.
If this holds true for financial services, we may also need to revisit our thinking around innovation in other areas. In times to come, products, services and systems that align with existing needs and behaviours of users may no longer be considered transformative. What will be valued is the design of frameworks that help users to imagine new possibilities around what they can do with their lives.