By @SimonCocking. Great interview with  Duena Blomstrom  specialist, 2016, Creator of , Uncomfortably opinionated writer, Speaker, Investor

How was 2016, what went well? What were your highlights?

2016 has been a rollercoaster both personally and professionally. With that said, while it’s been one of the darkest of our generation I wouldn’t say it was all bad. At the intersection of personal and professional – the people of FinTech – not only have I met a dear few who became valuable close friends but I’ve noticed I am finally old and wise enough to make no excuses for streamlining relationships as well.

One of the biggest highlights of last year is my work with a bank who is dead serious about change and is allowing me to help them do so. Deep, meaningful, organisational change. It’s exhilarating to be part of their process even if this will take years to trickle down to consumers. The other highlight is evidently the LinkedIn nomination. It spurred me to become even more disciplined about writing regularly.

Money 2020 Europe – this is how we rolled. Insights from Duena Bloomstrom

What are your plans for 2017?

New Year’s Resolutions get a bad name. I personally love them. They keep me focused on what the bigger to-do’s are. This year, writing will be priority.

I’m also working on two very exciting projects – one is around a cross industry event and the other around offering the scene a type of advisory that doesn’t currently exist together with a handful of names that not only resonate but are the keepers of all the knowledge one would need.

Lastly, I’m exciting about continuing my work with the bank I’ve mentioned (as well as add others to the same path). What they are doing requires serious courage – change is never easy in any organisation, much less in big international banks. I liken it to a genius technology start-up with a brilliant solution which did extremely well in the market but comes to a point a few years down the line when their code is stale, the architecture no longer modern and their technological debt crippling. They have to be brave and re-design, re-write, etc. They have to question everything and put new foundations in. And that’s immensely painful as any tech company will tell you but it’s necessary. It’s time for new foundations in banking culture if they want to compete and they are starting to understand this.

Well done on being a top LinkedIn Voice, what does that involve, and what were your most successful posts?

Thank you! That was very exciting! LinkedIn has been nothing but generous (if the teams are reading this – thank you for the cool mug!) – they expect nothing in return but for me, as I said before, this means I need to step my game and work harder at keeping my writing discipline. I don’t write for numbers, I write because I have something I’ve observed or have a strong opinion of and have to get it off my chest so I am not trying to engineer views and likes. This reflects in how articles I am utterly in love with barely reach a few hundred views whereas pieces like the “Goodbye Santander” one have become nearly viral and reached 25k views plus.

For those that don’t know what is FinServ, and how did it develop in 2016?

Being in FinTech it’s hard to believe there is life outside our bubble so I can’t imagine anyone doesn’t know what FinServ is! Jokes aside – Financial Services is an all encompassing term to include all that happens in terms of offering of products and solutions to enable clients’ financial lives. To me, it is not evident that it has seen a lot of quantifiable change in 2016.

Similarly for Emotional Banking, what is the response? Will we see more of it in 2017?

We will. While it’s taken a frustratingly long amount of time to marinate, the thought that they can not carry on in the absence of investigation into consumer’s feelings if they are handling their money, is finally sinking into the incumbent banks. A perfect storm of regulation opening -i.e. PSD2- and perceived market pressure from incumbents that promise solid customer experience means that banks are finally starting to become genuinely open to the steps they need to take to transform into real brands which do more than pay lip service to customer centricity.

Do you think bitcoin or something similar will grow in use in 2017?

Is that still around? I think all money is becoming e-money conceptually to the consumer. Cash is on its way out in many countries and ubiquitous, invisible payments are replacing it. I can’t see it immensely relevant to generations to come if they pay in Dogcoins or Euro as I wonder if the very topic of currency will still stand.

How soon do you think blockchain based innovations will become available? (or do you think the hype is ahead of the ability to deliver the predicted solutions)

I believe in 100 years when we look back at this period “Blockchain” will be what stands out. Not only because it redefined the rules of the game technologically but because it awarded many institutions big and small, clear blue sky thinking time by proving legacy systems and regulation are nothing but excuses. How fast can it deliver something meaningful to the consumer? It’s many years away in my opinion but that doesn’t mean it’s not the future.

What Fintech innovations can we look forward to in 2017?

Instead of listing the usual rise of the chat-bots, the advent of AI, the excitement around data processing finally delivering, I’ll say what I would welcome as not an innovation in general, but an innovative way of thinking for the industry, is a focus on Human Centered Design. I believe Design is the core of Strategy – other functions should simply support it if anyone is serious about delivering amazing customer experience and building lasting relationships.

Understanding the EX (emotional experience) in banking. Duena Blomstrom, FinTech thought leader

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