The 2017 Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre report ‘The Engine Room for Growth – The Role, Performance and Future Prospects of Small Business in Western Australia’ highlighted the very real levels of stress felt by almost all small businesses as they sought to grow.
97% of the businesses in WA are classified as ‘small’ which means these stresses have a huge impact on communities across our State.
Bankwest and the Small Business Development Corporation decided to create something new to help solve this problem.
They decided to build not just financial literacy but the emotional resilience and skills necessary for continuing success.
Eliza_ were approached to design a new process which would uncover the challenges and opportunities around creating a program and product to build skills and resilience for businesses.
To do this we co-designed a Design Thinking process which ran over a number of months, testing hypotheses and seeking to understand how best to create and deliver value for our audience.
We designed and facilitated a number of workshops with dozens of established business owners who were ready to grow, running them at Bankwest HQ and Curtin Centre for Entrepreneurship. After each session Eliza_ created reports filled with insights, informing the next workshop and helping the team to decide the next steps. As just one example, we explored the role technology might play in supportive learning.
Initially, it was felt that the product program would be high-touch, low tech, but as we explored this further we saw powerful and scalable opportunities to learn and monitor participant’s progress, aiding ‘accountability’ which they had highlighted as crucial for incorporating any new skills into their busy lives.
Ultimately our audience told us they saw a role for an engaging and personalised ecosystem which helped them reduce stress, learn and grow their business, inspiring business confidence.
Having validated the need and outlined the content, we then mapped the customer journey and applied service design to co-create a detailed roadmap for product delivery and prepared it for software development.
Towards the end of the process, we named this product ‘Business Health’ positioning it to dominate a new category and open the door to conversations about mental health as well as financial health.
Following this product design process, the program continues to evolve within the passionate teams at Bankwest. In true design thinking fashion, they are now testing the full end-to-end program with small business owners and exploring how they could scale the project in the future.
Working with Dan and Sam from Eliza_ was fantastic, they were able to hit the ground running and quickly got up to speed with the business and the unique Bankwest culture. They have a deep expertise in design thinking and experience design and an unlimited supply of passion, energy and optimism. They were always available and happy to roll up their sleeves and do what was needed to get the job done and I really valued their constructive challenge and innovative approaches to solving complex problems, they are a pleasure to work with!
We’d love to hear about your project.