Information Technology

Standard Life Opens a New High-tech Innovation Lab

Standard Life Opens a New High-tech Innovation Lab

Standard Life, part of Phoenix Group, will be applying cutting-edge technology at its Innovation Lab. The Lab is a dedicated space within its Edinburgh base, allowing users to identify pressing customer challenges and showcase and collaborate on proposition development with workplace clients.

It’s the latest addition to the Innovation Lab an immersive virtual reality (VR) experience that puts clients directly in front of vulnerable customers. When they put the headset on, on one side viewers can see someone in their kitchen, with documents spread across the table.

On the other side, they can see a member of the Standard Life customer services team in Standard Life House. A conversation then plays out that fully replicates a recent conversation with a Standard Life customer, with the customer at one point breaking down in tears due to her struggles with depression and resulting inability to manage her finances. After the customer call, there is a discussion around issues of vulnerability and the support on offer.

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) research published earlier this year found that in May 2022, 47% of UK adults showed one or more characteristics of vulnerability, highlighting the importance of engaging with the breadth of these characteristics and adapting propositions to include those impacted.

The VR capability complements an existing suite of technology aimed at highlighting issues of vulnerability, including gloves simulating the experience of arthritis and glasses showing various visual impairments.

In addition, the Lab is used to showcase broader proposition development with a dedicated team on-site who run interactive sessions with workplace clients at which they are shown the latest aspects of the Standard Life digital customer experience including customer journeys and features of the app, as well as investment strategies, vulnerable customer, and wider customer service support.

Emphasizing the theme of collaboration, the Lab is also the home of Phoenix Group’s Innovation Forum, in collaboration with strategic partners FinTech Scotland and the TCS COIN network. The Innovation Forum invites enterprises and entrepreneurs, through FinTech networks, to pitch their solutions on using tech to address wider challenges around member vulnerability- including digital literacy and financial inclusion.

The first winner was Behavioural Finance, which uses psychometric testing to enable users to see how their personality will affect their relationship with money. They will now work with Standard Life and Phoenix Group to further develop their concept.

Clare Moodie, Head of Innovation Lab at Standard Life, said: “The current scale of customer vulnerability is unprecedented, and we are using our technology to bring the issues that face savers to live, which is so much more powerful than quoting statistics from a page or even talking about them in a presentation.

“The more we, as an industry, engage with characteristics of vulnerability and really understand diverse and complex needs the more success we will have with innovating our propositions to make them relevant for all.”

Gail Izat, Standard Life Workplace Director, said: “I am proud to have been a part of the rollout of our Innovation Lab and it proved incredibly popular with clients. The workplace is a key driver for our business and we have a clear strategy focused on member engagement, digital innovation, and financial wellness.

“For me, our Lab exists as a representation of all three. The immersive experience offered in person or virtually at the lab sets the tone for ongoing communications with members. Particularly in the current climate, it’s so important that we find new and innovative ways to engage with members and provide support and information that has meaning and relevance at key and critical financial moments in life.”

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