What is an Insight? – Pepsi 2-Liter Bottle Redesign

What is an Insight? - Pepsi 2-Liter Bottle Redesign

Recently Pepsi launched a redesign of the two-liter bottle. Any redesign or new design or innovation effort should of course always begin with an insight, but what is an insight?

According to Oxford dictionaries:

“Insight is the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing.”

In the case of redesigning the two-liter bottle, I think most of us can intuitively agree that the two-liter bottle is awkward to use, and understand that it is also awkward to store, but a very economical way to purchase soda and useful for sharing soda at parties.

So, beginning from this insight we can quickly imagine a design challenge of:

“How might we make the two-liter bottle easier to use?”

Starting with what we understand about the experience and usage of two-liter bottles we could have just as easily set a design challenge of:

“How might we better serve our budget conscious soda customers?”


“How might we create a better soda option for parties?”

Given our guess above at the rough design challenge that yielded this Pepsi two-liter bottle redesign, it seems like this new design successfully meets its goal. But, whether it is an innovation will be determined by whether the competition adopts similar designs and whether these types of designs are still with us in several years.

So, what insight will drive your next innovation or design project?

Or, perhaps the more important question is this:

Is the brand new Pepsi Apple Pie flavor amazing or absolutely disgusting?

Please let me know below in the comments. 🙂

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Innovation or Not – Amazon Echo Frames

Amazon Echo Frames

Amazon announced yesterday that they were making their Amazon Echo Frames available to the general public. Amazon previously announced Echo Frames over a year ago. But, after extensive testing with a limited group of users over this past year, Amazon has decided that Echo Frames are ready for prime time and is making them available to anyone who wants a pair.

Amazon doesn’t green light every experiment that they invest in, as they simultaneously announced an unceremonious end to the Amazon Echo Loop Ring.

Amazon Echo Frames are very much what they sound like, a pair of $249.99 eyeglass frames that pair with your Android 9.0+ or iOS 13.6+ smartphone to allow you to give voice commands to that supercomputer you carry around in your pocket every day. Here is the demo video from last year:

You might be asking yourself – Why is Amazon making an iOS version?

It is kind of surprising given the rumors indicating that Apple will be launching their own Siri glasses at some point, but Amazon has decided to instead allow Echo Frames to tap into Google Assistant or Siri if people so choose.

It is important to note that Echo Frames are NOT smartglasses or even augmented reality glasses, but instead a Zero UI extension of your smartphone and an audio system for text messages and the occasional phone call, allowing you to cut down on your screen time and keep your smartphone tucked away more of the day.

It will be interesting to see whether these catch on or whether people opt for in ear solutions like Google Pixelbuds or Apple’s Airpods Pro. I guess only time will tell.

So, what do you think? Innovation or not?

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How to Successfully Lead a Reorganization

An Exclusive Interview with Stephen Heidari-Robinson and Suzanne Heywood

How to Successfully Lead a ReorganizationI had the opportunity recently to interview fellow authors Stephen Heidari-Robinson and Suzanne Heywood, former leaders in McKinsey’s Organization Practice, about ReOrg: How to Get It Right, a practical guide for successfully planning and implementing a reorg in five steps—demystifying and accelerating the process at the same time. Based on their twenty-five years of combined experience managing reorgs and on McKinsey research with over 2,500 executives involved in them, the authors distill what they and their McKinsey colleagues have been practicing as an “art” into a “science” that executives can replicate—in companies or business units large or small.

1. What are the most popular reasons for doing a reorganization?

Our company Quartz has undertaken a survey with Harvard Business Review to understand the nature of reorganisations which we also discuss in our book, ReOrg: How to Get It Right. We looked at why they happen, how they happen and what drives success versus failure, and have 2500 results so far. We can tell you that statistically, the most popular reason for launching a reorganisation of just under a quarter of cases is responding to a change in customer needs or a change in the business environment. Joint second is to enable company growth and to cut costs with slightly under 20% of both.

The fourth most popular one is to respond to a leader’s desire to reshape the organisation in their own image, and we can also tell you that that last reason is statistically the least successful reason for reorganising. It’s very clear that you need to have a business rationale to change your organisation, not just do it because of one leader’s whim.

2. What is the biggest misconception that people have about successful reorganization efforts?

We think the biggest misconception is that deciding on the concept of the organisation and how it’s going to affect senior leaders in the company is the hardest thing to do.

Actually intuitively that’s pretty easy. You can have support from consultants to do it but you know there are a finite number of ways in which you might organise. You could think of them for yourself. You could have a debate with your senior leaders about what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. If someone doesn’t want to join that bus they can leave the bus and the rest can continue. So intuitively that’s kind of obvious.

Actually the hardest thing to deliver in a reorganisation is all the plumbing and the wiring that follows that. You don’t change the performance of people by just changing someone’s boss’s boss’s boss’s boss. It’s actually in detailing out the processes, the interfaces, the governance, the capabilities required, the behaviours that you need and how management information is going to be reported. All those areas that are actually much, much, much more difficult and receive far less attention than the high-level cartoon that gets announced as soon as you know what it means for your senior leaders.

3. What are some of the typical mistakes people make with reorganizations?

We think one mistake goes alongside the biggest misconception which is not having an end to end plan of how to deliver the reorganisation from soup to nuts, so from thinking about what business objective you want to achieve to running the organisation in a different way. People seem to do it in a ‘one thing follows the other’ type way and that means that the whole process lasts a long time, on average about 12 months. Our statistics are very clear- if you deliver your reorganisation in six months or less you’re far more likely to be successful because you disrupt the organisation for less long and you get the results that you wanted quicker. In order to deliver that you need to have a good plan. Whether you have a good plan or you don’t is one of the biggest causes of whether or not you’re successful. Only one third of reorganisations have a good plan.

The second typical mistake is to focus almost entirely on lines and boxes of the org charts and perhaps even also roles and number of people, so thinking about what the organisation looks like, rather than how it works, which is a lot about governance, processes, skills, behaviours, the way in which teams can function together. About 90% of organisations cover structure and roles. 50% or less look at these other areas of processes, governance and people.

Reorg Book Cover4. Why are reorganizations so difficult to do well?

Here is a very simple answer: because they involve people.

No one likes change, or very few people like change and they like disruption even less. They don’t like getting involved in a process where they think they’re going to need to fear for their jobs (and they always assume that they do, regardless of whether or not this is for growth or cost savings.) Usually it is the case that some people will leave the organisation as a consequence of this, even if they don’t have the right skills for growth. There are processes that lead to a lot of fear. We do think leaders often tend to outsource the problem to either consultants or an internal team, rather than gripping it themselves. In fact, what could be a more important role of leaders in an organisation than deciding how they want to deploy their people in order to get the business outcomes they want. Really we think it’s a failure to grapple with the people aspects of the organisation that make them so difficult.

Continue reading the article on CustomerThink.com

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The Surprising Power of Business Experiments

Interview with Stefan H. Thomke

I had the opportunity recently to interview fellow author Stefan H. Thomke, the William Barclay Harding Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School to talk with him about his new book Experimentation Works: The Surprising Power of Business Experiments, to explore the important role that experimentation plays in business and innovation.

1. Why is there a business experimentation imperative?

My book Experimentation Works is about how to continuously innovate through business experiments. Innovation is important because it drives profitable growth and creates shareholder value. But here is the dilemma: despite being awash in information coming from every direction, today’s managers operate in an uncertain world where they lack the right data to inform strategic and tactical decisions. Consequently, for better or worse, our actions tend to rely on experience, intuition, and beliefs. But this all too often doesn’t work. And all too often, we discover that ideas that are truly innovative go against our experience and assumptions, or the conventional wisdom. Whether it’s improving customer experiences, trying out new business models, or developing new products and services, even the most experienced managers are often wrong, whether they like it or not. The book introduces you to many of those people and their situations—and how business experiments raised their innovation game dramatically.

2. What makes a good business experiment, and what are some of the keys to successful experiment design?

In an ideal experiment, testers separate an independent variable (the presumed cause) from a dependent variable (the observed effect) while holding all other potential causes constant. They then manipulate the former to study changes in the latter. The manipulation, followed by careful observation and analysis, yields insight into the relationships between cause and effect, which ideally can be applied and tested in other settings. To obtain that kind of learning—and ensure that each experiment contains the right elements and yields better decisions—companies should ask themselves seven important questions: (1) Does the experiment have a testable hypothesis? (2) Have stakeholders made a commitment to abide by the results? (3) Is the experiment doable? (4) How can we ensure reliable results? (5) Do we understand cause and effect? (6) Have we gotten the most value out of the experiment? And finally, (7) Are experiments really driving our decisions? Although some of the questions seem obvious, many companies conduct tests without fully addressing them.

Here is a complete list of elements that you may find useful:


  • Is the hypothesis rooted in observations, insights, or data?
  • Does the experiment focus on a testable management action under consideration?
  • Does it have measurable variables, and can it be shown to be false?
  • What do people hope to learn from the experiments?


  • What specific changes would be made on the basis of the results?
  • How will the organization ensure that the results aren’t ignored?
  • How does the experiment fit into the organization’s overall learning agenda and strategic priorities?


  • Does the experiment have a testable prediction?
  • What is the required sample size? Note: The sample size will depend on the expected effect (for example, a 5 percent increase in sales).
  • Can the organization feasibly conduct the experiment at the test locations for the required duration?


  • What measures will be used to account for systemic bias, whether it’s conscious or unconscious?
  • Do the characteristics of the control group match those of the test group?
  • Can the experiment be conducted in either “blind” or “double-blind” fashion?
  • Have any remaining biases been eliminated through statistical analyses or other techniques?
  • Would others conducting the same test obtain similar results?


  • Did we capture all variables that might influence our metrics?
  • Can we link specific interventions to the observed effect?
  • What is the strength of the evidence? Correlations are merely suggestive of causality.
  • Are we comfortable taking action without evidence of causality?


  • Has the organization considered a targeted rollout—that is, one that takes into account a proposed initiative’s effect on different customers, markets, and segments—to concentrate investments in areas when the potential payback is the highest?
  • Has the organization implemented only the components of an initiative with the highest return on investment?
  • Does the organization have a better understanding of what variables are causing what effects?


  • Do we acknowledge that not every business decisions can or should be resolved by experiments? But everything that can be tested should be tested.
  • Are we using experimental evidence to add transparency to our decision-making process?

Experimentation Works3. Is there anything special about running online experiments?

In an A/B test, the experimenter sets up two experiences: the control (“A”) is usually the current system—considered the champion—and the treatment (“B”) is some modification that attempts to improve something—the challenger. Users are randomly assigned to the experiences, and key metrics are computed and compared. (A/B/C or A/B/n tests and multivariate tests, in contrast, assess more than one treatment or modifications of different variables at the same time.) Online, the modification could be a new feature, a change to the user interface (such as a new layout), a back-end change (such as an improvement to an algorithm that, say, recommends books at Amazon), or a different business model (such as an offer of free shipping). Whatever aspect of customer experiences companies care most about—be it sales, repeat usage, click-through rates, or time users spend on a site—they can use online A/B tests to learn how to optimize it. Any company that has at least a few thousand daily active users can conduct these tests. The ability to access large customer samples, to automatically collect huge amounts of data about user interactions on websites and apps, and to run concurrent experiments gives companies an unprecedented opportunity to evaluate many ideas quickly, with great precision, and at a negligible cost per additional experiment. Organizations can iterate rapidly, win fast, or fail fast and pivot. Indeed, product development itself is being transformed: all aspects of software—including user interfaces, security applications, and back-end changes—can now be subjected to A/B tests (technically, this is referred to as full stack experimentation).

4. What are some of the keys to building a culture of large-scale experimentation?

Shared behaviors, beliefs, and values (aka culture) are often an obstacle to running more experiments in companies. For every online experiment that succeeds, nearly 10 don’t—and in the eyes of many organizations that emphasize efficiency, predictability, and “winning,” those failures are wasteful. To successfully innovate, companies need to make experimentation an integral part of everyday life—even when budgets are tight. That means creating an environment in which employees’ curiosity is nurtured, data trumps opinion, anyone (not just people in R&D) can conduct or commission a test, all experiments are done ethically, and managers embrace a new model of leadership. More specifially, companies have addressed some of these obstacles in the following ways:

They Cultivate Curiosity

Everyone in the organization, from the leadership on down, needs to value surprises, despite the difficulty of assigning a dollar figure to them and the impossibility of predicting when and how often they’ll occur. When firms adopt this mindset, curiosity will prevail and people will see failures not as costly mistakes but as opportunities for learning. Many organizations are also too conservative about the nature and amount of experimentation. Overemphasizing the importance of successful experiments may inadvertently encourage employees to focus on familiar solutions or those that they already know will work and avoid testing ideas that they fear might fail.

They Insist That Data Trump Opinions

The empirical results of experiments must prevail when they clash with strong opinions, no matter whose opinions they are. But this is rare among most firms for an understandable reason: human nature. We tend to happily accept “good” results that confirm our biases but challenge and thoroughly investigate “bad” results that go against our assumptions. The remedy is to implement the changes experiments validate with few exceptions. Getting executives in the top ranks to abide by this rule is especially difficult. But it’s vital that they do: Nothing stalls innovation faster than a so-called HiPPO—highest-paid person’s opinion. Note that I’m not saying that all management decisions can or should be based on experiments. Some things are very difficult, if not impossible, to conduct tests on—for example, strategic calls on whether to acquire a company. But if everything that can be tested online is tested, experiments can become instrumental to management decisions and fuel healthy debates.

They Embrace a Different Leadership Model

If most decisions are made through experiments, what’s left for managers to do, beyond developing the company’s strategic direction and tackling big decisions such as which acquisitions to make? There are at least three things:
Set a grand challenge that can be broken into testable hypotheses and key performance metrics. Employees need to see how their experiments support an overall strategic goal.

Put in place systems, resources, and organizational designs that allow for large-scale experimentation. Scientifically testing nearly every idea requires infrastructure: instrumentation, data pipelines, and data scientists. Several third-party tools and services make it easy to try experiments, but to scale things up, senior leaders must tightly integrate the testing capability into company processes.

Be a role model. Leaders have to live by the same rules as everyone else and subject their own ideas to tests. Bosses ought to display intellectual humility and be unafraid to admit, “I don’t know…” They should heed the advice of Francis Bacon, the forefather of the scientific method: “If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.”

Continue reading the article on InnovationManagement.se

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Announcing the Change Planning Toolkit™ v9

Charting Change - Order NowDespite already investing more than one million dollars in the new intellectual property included in the Change Planning Toolkit™, I will continue to take your feedback and invest in creating new tools that make the toolkit even more valuable for everyone.

Today I’m excited to announce the Change Planning Toolkit™ v9 which includes new tools for:

  • Mapping of Stakeholder Teams and Individuals
  • Stakeholder Engagement Mapping

The Change Planning Canvas™ and the more than 50 tools in the toolkit will help make your change planning efforts more visual and collaborative, and enable you to get everyone literally all on the same page for change. The toolkit has been created to help organizations:

  1. Beat the 70% failure rate for change programs
  2. Quickly visualize, plan and execute change efforts
  3. Deliver projects and change efforts on time
  4. Accelerate implementation and adoption
  5. Get valuable tools for a low investment

Get your Change Planning Toolkit™ licenses now at a special price.

If you purchased a Change Planning Toolkit™ license over a year ago, you will want to renew your license so you can:

  • Download the latest version
  • Help shape future updates to the toolkit by contacting us to request new tools
  • Get access to any further updates over the next year

IMPORTANT: If you already purchased the book and are looking to access the supporting material, please contact me with your proof of purchase and I’ll send you the file.

Learning how to use the Change Planning Toolkit™ will create great opportunities for:

  1. Organizations to build a continuous change capability
  2. Consulting companies to increase revenue while achieving better client outcomes
  3. Education companies to build new organizational change course offerings

So, what are you waiting for?

Don’t endure even one more change or project failure.

Get the Change Planning Toolkit™ v9 today!

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Innovation or Not – Amazon One

Amazon One Biometric Payments

I came across another payments-related invention that Amazon is releasing into the wild. Yes, it is based around biometrics, but before you start getting all freaked out, it doesn’t use an implanted RFID chip or even facial recognition. No, Amazon One as it is referred to, connects a scan of your palm to your phone number and your credit card.

Once you’ve set this up at one of the Amazon Go stores currently piloting the technology, you’re all ready to go. From that point forward you can enter the Amazon Go store by hovering your palm above the reader and then use your palm on the way out to pay (and receive your receipt by text message I assume).

While you can connect your palm to your Amazon account so you can track purchase history, you don’t have to. Your palm scan is encrypted and stored in the cloud for future use.

Still not sure how it works?

Check out this explainer video:

The tagline for the service gives you an idea of the third party applications that Amazon hopes to pursue with this technology:

“Enter, identify and pay with Amazon One.”

So, what do you think? Innovation or not?

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Innovation or Not – Amazon Alexa Pay for Gas

Amazon Alexa Pay for Gas

You can now use the Alexa app on your phone or Alexa-enabled device in your car for an easy way to pay for gas at Exxon and Mobil stations nationwide.

Here’s how it works in a nutshell:

  1. Drive your vehicle up to the pump at your Exxon or Mobil station.
  2. Use the Alexa-enabled device in your car or Alexa app on your phone and say “Alexa, pay for gas.”
  3. Follow Alexa’s prompts to activate the pump.
  4. Fuel up and drive away. Payment is handled automatically.

I’m not sure whether they’re using Near Field Communications (NFC) or cellular data to communicate, but basically what’s happening is that in the same way a card swipe or tap to pay reader on the pump receives payment method information and validates payment, the pumps at select Exxon Mobil stations can now receive Amazon Pay default payment information, validate it and unlock the pump in the same way.

It’s a nice convenience and a clever way of trying to increase the adoption of Amazon Pay, but is it an innovation?

What do you think?

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How to Make Creativity an Everyday Habit Inside Your Organization

An Exclusive Interview with Scott D. Anthony

Scott D AnthonyI had the opportunity recently to interview fellow author Scott D. Anthony of consulting firm Innosight to talk with him about his new book Eat, Sleep, Innovate: How to Make Creativity an Everyday Habit Inside Your Organization, which is his eighth book with his co-authors Paul Cobban, Natalie Painchaud, and Andy Parker. Congratulations Scott!

1. Given all the innovation books already written (including yours), what did you see missing to make you write another one?

This book traces back to a conversation with a client about five years ago. We were doing a workshop with the top team of a global logistics company, and talking about all of our usual stuff about the need to create organizational space for disruptive innovation and whatnot. The CEO stopped the discussion and said basically, “I’ve read all of your books and we’ve done what you would tell us to do. I have a small team focused on disruption. They are doing great. But what should I do with the 28,000 other people in my organization?” We didn’t have a great answer to the question! In 2017-2018, we did a project for DBS Bank here in Singapore that forced us to push the thinking on the topic, so decided that we would take what we learned, augment it with additional research and case studies, and create a book.

2. Why do behaviors command such a central role in innovation?

Innovation doesn’t happen magically. It happens from people doing things. Much of the innovation literature focuses on the end output, on the strategy, on the supporting organizational structures and processes, but of course all of that only works if people follow certain day-to-day behaviors. One simple way we remind people of this is to return to the basic definition we have of innovation: something different that creates value. You can’t do something different that creates value if you don’t do something!

3. What behaviors are most important to innovation?

There has been good research and writing on this from a range of different scholars and thought leaders. Our synthesis of this work and our own field work suggests that five behaviors are the most critical. It starts with curiosity. You have to question the status quo and ask “What if?” to begin the innovation journey. Next is being customer obsessed. Ultimately, for innovation to take root it must solve a real problem that matters to customers, so great innovators take the time to find problems worth solving, what we call a job to be done. The third behavior is collaboration. One of the most time tested findings in the innovation literature is that magic happens at intersections, when different mindsets and skills collide together. Great innovators recognize that none of us is as smart as all of us. The fourth is being adept in ambiguity. Innovation success comes from trial-and-error experimentation, and requires being willing to fumble, take false steps, and sometimes fail. Finally, innovation requires being empowered. To be a broken record, you can’t do something different that creates value unless you do something!

How to Make Creativity an Everyday Habit Inside Your Organization4. What are BEANs and why are they important?

A BEAN is a behavior enabler, artifact and nudge. They are important because they get at a hidden barrier to innovation inside organizations: institutional inertia. Let me explain this by describing a puzzle. Over the last 15 years, I’ve watched my four children grow up in parallel to working with large organizations all around thew world. I didn’t have to teach my children to follow behaviors that drive innovation success. Like all humans, they are naturally curious, collaborative, and love to experiment. Yet organizations, filled with people that once followed these behaviors naturally, struggle with innovation. Why? Established organizations focus on doing what they are currently doing better. Innovation is doing something different. Ingrained habits constrain innovation energy. A BEAN draws on the habit change literature to break this inertia and encourage innovation.

5. What makes a successful BEAN?

There’s a basic answer and a more complex answer. The basic answer is that a BEAN engages the two decision making frames that Daniel Kahneman identified in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow: behavior enablers trigger the rational, logical part of our brain where we carefully consider decisions (System 2) and artifacts and nudges trigger the portion of our brain where we make quick, subconscious decisions (System 1). The more complex answer is that a successful BEAN has six criteria. A good BEAN is simple, making it easy to do regularly, practical, lowering barriers to use, reinforced, making it stronger, organizationally consistent, making it natural to do, unusual, making it easy to remember, and trackable, allowing it to be further refined and improved. Yes, those words form the acronym SPROUT. So, a good BEAN needs to SPROUT.

Continue reading the article on InnovationManagement.se

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Virtual Keynotes and Virtual Workshops Now Available

Virtual Keynotes and Virtual Workshops Now Available

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has inflicted untold pain and disruption on individuals, families, businesses and economies all around the world.

But, now that we all are obtaining a clearer understanding of what it means to live and work amongst the reality of COVID-19, people are going back to work (even if still remotely) and companies are turning their attention increasingly back to the future.

Now is the time for event producers and innovation leaders to restart their content pipelines to inspire and empower audiences and employees to stoke their innovation bonfires, plan their transformation journeys, or chart their course for change.

People are more ready than ever to engage with virtual content, and you can save on travel expenses at the same time. Whether we’re speaking about inspirational keynotes or empowering workshops that create new capabilities in the audience or bring teams together to co-innovate using design thinking and other tools, frameworks, and methods.

I would be more than happy to create and deliver a customized keynote or workshop to any audience anywhere in the world, on any of these broad topics:

  • Change
  • Innovation
  • Design Thinking
  • Digital Transformation

Or if want to do your own workshops inside your organization but need a little help transitioning these to the virtual world, I would be happy to assist you with this as well.

For more information, please see my speaker page or contact me.

Keep innovating!

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Companies Need to Double Down on Dual-Factor Authentication

Companies Need to Double Down on Dual-Factor Authentication

Unfortunately there will always be bad actors in this world, people who don’t restrain themselves from trying to steal from others or to harm them. Because of this we need to accept the fact that hacking is here to stay and enhanced security measures will be required to protect ourselves from theft in our digital lives that can impact our real lives.

Some of my recent research in the hospitality industry identified that fraud is a large and increasing problem for hotels, resulting in unfilled inventory, credit card chargebacks, and loyalty point thefts from customers.

Personally, my Starbucks card account has been hacked – twice.

According to Chargeback.com:

“The percentage of cyber attacks targeting loyalty and rewards accounts nearly tripled from 2016 to 2017, with 48% of businesses being hit by ATO (Account Takeover) attacks. This has cost companies more than $2.3 billion worldwide.”

The most recent hack was foiled by a 24 hour cooldown period, preventing (or discouraging) thieves from being able to move about $25.00 off my Starbucks card onto theirs. But as I was setting up dual-factor authentication on my account and changing my password to keep the thieves from getting back into my account I noticed that the system was not set up well for a simple nuclear family – let alone a complicated family. Users are only able to enter a single phone number for the dual-factor authentication code to be sent to. I assume this is to make the system simple but it then makes it so that my wife can’t access the account.

Dual-factor authentication is going to become a mandatory requirement for logins to financially-linked accounts (including any site where you store your credit card details) and companies need to design their systems to accommodate spouses and potentially even children.

Companies should consider incorporating biometric methods of identity verification as the primary or secondary method of authentication as well, not just for security reasons but for ease of use/customer experience reasons too.

So, protect your customers folks, but remember how people live their lives as you’re designing your systems to keep them (and their money) safe.

Keep innovating!

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