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Financial sector’s crucial role in a planetary crisis
What is the biggest challenge you are facing in terms of product development nowadays?
We face an accelerating triple planetary crisis, where the financial sector has a crucial role. Product development will need to transform the financial system to solve the three main interlinked issues that humanity currently faces: climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. Hence successful product development will need to make ESG integrated so that all financial products and services will contribute to the transformation to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future. This is the topic I will address at the 9th Annual Product Development Excellence in Banking Summit on 14-15th September 2022.
How do you think consumer behaviours and expectations will change in the near future?
Consumers will expect seamless experiences of products and services, where there is no real need to make active decisions in every matter by yourself. With an increasing amount of available data, product- and service providers will be able to suggest the right products or set up before the client even now her needs. As an insurance company, for example, that could mean just saying to a customer that “you are insured”. We know their risks, so basically in the future, there might not be a need to actually get several different insurance products. You could just be insured, totally carefree.
How do banks embrace product innovation during a hectic period?
Change, no matter small adjustments or transformational change, does never happen by itself. Doing things changes things. Product innovation and driving change always come down to establishing an innovation culture, building diverse teams with different perspectives and encouraging commitment and power of action among all employees. Transparent communication and involving everyone in the company strategy, roadmaps and projects will create trust, and together with planning and user-friendly structures, it can happen despite of high tempo and buzz from the surrounding world.
Martin BJÖRGELL is the Head of Product and Business Analysis at Handelsbanken Liv. Handelsbanken Liv is one of Sweden’s leading life insurance companies and a wholly-owned subsidy to Svenska Handelsbanken AB. Martin joined the Handelsbanken Group in 2012, after being named Business Student of the Year and receiving a scholarship from H.M. The King of Sweden for his value-based leadership in the Scouts Movement. Recently he was also named as one of the top talents in the field of sustainability in Sweden, for his work with aligning the product offering with Agenda 2030 and setting a focus on equality and gender mainstreaming in pension savings.