Innovation at the Intersection

By Richard Leader

We started FastFin with the goal of delivering great digital innovation in finance – which tends to happen at the intersection of technology, design, domain knowledge, and agile delivery.

These ingredients form the four equally important pillars of what we bring to our clients; let’s have a look at each:

Tech Heavy Lift

Full stack web / mobile development is our specialty – having been doing it since its mid 2000s heyday.

Yet great UX (user experience) is about more than just the UI (user interface) – it depends on all the links in the chain. If the back ends underpinning the UI are slow, flaky, or don’t scale then the UX will suffer.

At FastFin we bring the experience necessary to get everything running properly throughout the tech stack – from top to bottom – to make our clients’ digital visions reality.

Studio UX

Here in 2016, design is a key differentiator – and solutions, even ones aimed at small and highly specialized audiences, have to compete for mindshare otherwise they get ignored.

And because everyone’s smartphone is full of the best consumer apps, users have become accustomed to great design. Expectations have skyrocketed and corporate IT – which once had the edge – has struggled to keep up.

Of course, normal-sized tech teams can’t expect everything they release to be Uber – yet by being smart and making clever decisions the same amount of resource can usually be made to stretch further.

At FastFin we love helping our clients achieve this – which includes drawing inspiration from the very best consumerized tech innovation out there and adapting it for the industry we serve.

Domain Knowledge

Understand the problem before attempting a solution is a rule sometimes skipped when technology – especially in finance – is concerned.

Why? Because finding specialists (developers, designers, etc.) with the requisite business experience is tricky – and the concepts can be difficult to communicate to the unversed. This means the experts you’ve hired to produce original solutions are often reduced to just copying a spec – and innovation is lost.

Having been doing digital innovation in the financial markets since the mid 2000s we like to think we’re sufficiently fluent in finance to make communication effortless – and we hire people who fit this profile.

As Henry Ford said, if he’d asked his market what they wanted they’d have said a faster horse. It takes domain knowledge to question established methods and processes – which is when innovation really starts.

Agile Delivery

Release early, release often; perfect is the enemy of good; minimum viable product; continual communication and feedback; sit with the users.

These are some of the agile principles we live by – day to day – when delivering solutions. We delight in helping our clients adopt them, because, we find, it makes for great digital innovation.

Usually this means changing the way people work – and think – which is of course a gradual process.

But by injecting knowledge and instilling new behaviors – and (crucially) showcasing / celebrating success – even a finance organization, with risk aversion programmed into its DNA, can acquire some of those coveted startup characteristics.

As one senior banking exec recently said to us: installing a ping pong table doesn’t make us Silicon Valley.

However, here at FastFin we’re happy to help you take practical steps towards building cells of meaningful, productive innovation – and scaling them.

Give us a shout and we’ll start a conversation.