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Posts Tagged ‘social’

Frugal retail banking innovation meets social need and could disrupt sector

September 17, 2014 Leave a comment

compte nickel mobile-argent-mastercardIn his book No Bank (available here in French) Hugues Le Bret tells the story of Compte Nickel, a start-up that he and his associates created for the purpose of providing people kicked out of the banking system with an ultra-low cost alternative to receiving and making ordinary card payments.

Although, in a heavily regulated sector, the project required 3 years of massive effort, chasing the funding needed to obtain regulatory approvals that were themselves needed to give enough confidence to investors, the business model is very simple:

  1. The customer buys a €20 ‘pack’ at a retail outlet that is licensed to sell state-regulated products such as tobacco and lottery games. The pack contains a Mastercard and an instruction booklet.
  2. Following the instructions, the customer scans their ID at a specially designed terminal, and provides a physical address and an email address. This 5-min operation opens the account.
  3. The retail outlet manager then swipes the card that was provided in the pack, instantly checking that the account has been properly opened, generating an IBAN number and activating the card.
  4. With a few additional steps the customer uses a mobile phone to generate a PIN and the codes for online banking.

Read more…

Time for innovation to make sense and for humanity to step on the path to progress once more

May 29, 2014 1 comment

There-are-only-two-choices-make-progress-or-make-excuses_Ellen-MikesellOn Monday evening I listened to Etienne Klein’s thought-provoking talk at Les [im]pertinents in Paris: “is there a future for the idea of progress?” A physicist and philosopher of science, Klein is a strong advocate of the role of science as an engine of innovation but observes that in our so-called post-modern society the link between science/innovation on the one hand and human progress on the other hand appears to be increasingly tenuous, if not severed, in the minds of people. How did it come to this and how can we retake our future in our own hands? Read more…

The bread collector: when tradition meets social innovation

May 1, 2011 2 comments

To the keen but unaware observer, the morning routine that takes place in the modern streets of Delhi might seem strange. A man pulls a small cart painted with cows, rings his bell, and collects bread from every household. He doesn’t come to distribute something as the famed milkman would do in other parts of the world; he comes to collect fresh bread. Read more…