Digital Innovation: What can we learn from FinTech?
FinTech firms have been the darlings of the media—and policymakers—in recent years. Indeed, regulations like Payment Services Directives 2 (PSD2) have only made it easier for them to take their combinations of lean innovation and social savvy to market. Their ability to be agile and provide seamless and integrated digital solutions holds lessons not just for those in Finance, but for all industries. Digitalisation, and the promise of fast-moving change, has meant that FinTech firms are just the first of many waves of digital disruption.
Self-sustaining Economies, Tokens and the Blockchain
Distributed Ledger Technologies, better known as the Blockchain, are best known for their role in supporting cryptocurrency ecosystems. Both the underlying technology and these currencies have attracted considerable hype and, with it, speculation. However, these technologies also allow us to verify if something is original—meaning that assets can have a purely digital, and verifiable, form. These assets are here to stay, and they promise more than just additions to the existing financial system. Building on my research into Blockchain entrepreneurship and the Sharing Economy, I explore the possibilities around self-sustaining ecosystems, tokenisation, and designs that support innovation and independent economies.
Digital Traces, Integrity and Cashlessness
Sweden seems poised to become the first of many cashless society. For myself, I last remember using cash to buy a second-hand coffee table in November 2013. Digital transactions are no more than data—and they therefore can be collected, tracked, and traced. If designed in the right way, future financial infrastructures could allow for the collection of meta and aggregate data, allowing for optimisation and fine tuning of services. If done in the wrong way, individuals could face even greater threats to their integrity than they do today.
Digital Innovation and the Professions
Much of the discussion around automation has centred around how it will replace human workers. While this is true of some tasks, the reality is more complex. Different constellations of promising technologies seem poised to both make our lives easier, and make them more complex. The implications of automation and digital innovation for professionals, in particular, are unclear. Here, I explore the most likely technologies to encroach on professional work, and analyse how we as humans can make ourselves “future proof”.
Social Capital, Trust and Inclusion
Sweden is known internationally as a “high trust” society. One of the main consequences of these high levels of trust is that it is easy to do business, make arrangements, and create value with others within the society. However, the high trust is built on social capital: only those who are “inside” the society benefit from it. I draw on my many years as an “outsider”, and extensive ethnographic work to explore how we can support inclusion efforts while maintaining the high levels of trust that make Sweden what it is today.