PHB Studies & Strategies

PHB Studies & Strategies (S&S) is PHB Development’s Research and Market Intelligence Practice.

PHB S&S provides in-depth local research and key market intelligence on financial inclusion ecosystems to produce innovative solutions for the unbanked and under-banked. Our goal is to develop and disseminate actionable insights to build relevant and effective digital financial services (DFS) ecosystems. A human-centered approach is embedded in our research and recommendations, in order to offer the most beneficial and sustainable solutions.

Our systemic approach

PHB Studies’ approach to research encompasses the 3 pillars of a DFS ecosystem:

Through our comprehensive research framework, we aim to increase knowledge of DFS and financial inclusion (FI) to support the development of solid value-added products and services for financially vulnerable people in Asia and Africa. Our consultants immerse in a culture to better understand how human behaviors and motivations relate to financial activities.

Direct benefits of our services

1- A better understanding of clients’ needs and behaviors

2- Hands-on guidance to improve DFS providers’ competencies, highlighting mechanisms that are effective and explaining the “why” of what work

3- Market development insights including analysis of underlying market successes and failures; such research-based insights are key to designing products and interventions that will generate positive impact for clients.

4- Comprehensive diagnostics of DFS ecosystems based on the state of the demand, supply and market.

We offer focused human-centric results to enable success

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Every situation is unique, so we apply tailored research approaches to each project.

  1. Our research on clients’ needs and behaviors is predominantly based on:
  1. Our knowledge support to DFS providers entails:
  • Practical toolkits
  • Case studies
  • Best practices applications worldwide
  • Institutional capacity assessments
  1. Our study of market environments encompasses:
  • Regulatory and supervisory frameworks
  • Stakeholders and potential partnerships
  • State of the markets (competition, products, opportunities and threats)
  • Distribution networks
  • Technology developments
  1. Our detailed analysis and recommendations on ecosystems development provides country diagnostics and thorough recommendations to unlocking DFS ecosystems for higher efficiency and uptake.

Along with providing valuable insights, PHB Development is committed to translating research into actionable results, through co-creation workshops, prototyping and product testing.

For more information on the services of our team of researchers and how they can benefit financial inclusion in a range of countries and cultures, contact our Studies and Strategies Head Lisa Chassin at: lchassin@phbdevelopment.com

Our Research Partners

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Innate Motion is a business humanizer company with combined marketing and psychology capabilities. They excel in cultural decoding, purpose branding and engagement engineering.

L-IFT a social enterprise specializing in a Low-Income Financial Transformation (L-IFT). L-IFT primarily works in diaries research. Its team has experience with financial diaries studies in three countries.

Highlights from recent missions by PHB Studies

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2017 Strengthening Orange Money Madagascar Client Orientation (CGAP)

Type: HCD Research

  • Objective: Increase subscription and usage of Orange Money products by improving the dialogue with clients, reducing costs and increasing clients’ perceived value
  • Selected outcomes:
    • Human centric analysis and personas of the people we met
    • Stakeholder mapping
    • Cost-benefit analysis of mobile money for the target segment
    • Customer journey assessment
    • On-going product features design and liquidity management solutions for agents
  • Human-Centric Design methodology:
    • Individual interviews with famers and SILCs members, conducted at people’s homes. We used simulation games to understand people’s objectives and aspirations, daily money management mechanisms and behaviors, confidence with regards to technology, etc.
    • Focus group discussions with farmers and SILC members using HCD facilitation and sacrificial concepts
    • Agent interviews to understand their business aspirations and challenges, the role and importance of Orange money in the business, and to experiment sacrificial concept of transacting with clients via different solutions and devices.

2016 DFS for financial institution’s Toolkits (UNCDF MicroLead)

Type: Toolkits

  • Objective: Publication of six different DFS business models available to financial institutions.
  • Selected outcomes:Enabled financial institutions to understand the associated objectives, requirements and pre-requisites needed to be able to achieve the model’s goals.
    • Identified and explained success factors, challenges and risks to anticipate as well as present mitigation strategies,
    • Provided a series of functional tools such as assessment and diagnosis tools, a value proposition template, cost/benefit analysis spreadsheets, etc., to guide financial institutions along their digital path.
  • Toolkit structure:
    • Business model toolkit illustrated by concrete international DFS examples
    • Detailed case studies to support salient elements of the related model.

2016 UNCDF Customer Experience Research and Design in Benin & Senegal with Innate Motion (UNCDF-MM4P)

Type: HCD Research

  • Objective: Customer centric research to develop solutions to a key challenge: lack of customer centricity in product design and delivery.
  • Selected outcomes:
    • Enabled DF providers in Senegal and Benin to better understand customers’ experience with DFS, from awareness to regular use;
    • Provided key behavioral analysis for groups of DF providers to implement improvements and changes in products or delivery – resulting in improved customer experience.
  • Human-Centric Design methodology: Immersions with users and partners to identify human and cultural themes in order to better understand the people the partners want to serve;
    • Co-creation of workshops with partners and customers (prototyping focus groups) to build upon research and conceptualize solutions to increase adoption of DFS;
    • Generated an implementation paper that defined the solutions identified

2016 Digital Financial Services Ecosystem Assessment in Sierra Leone and Guinea (UNDP)

Type: Country-level diagnostic

  • Objective: Provide UNDP with an DFS ecosystem assessment in Sierra Leone to guide the operational development of the sector.
  • Selected outcomes:
    • Assessed existing supply and demand for payments services; identified opportunities and constraints for short-term needs of the Ebola emergency response and social cash transfers, as well as for the medium and long-term development of overall digital payments sector.
    • Developed action-based country strategies, work plans and budgets for DF activities in Guinea and Sierra Leone.
    • Guided international donors in harmonizing approaches to DFS development
  • Research Methodology
    • Review of existing sources on DFS in the targeted countries
    • DFS stakeholders’ in-depth interviews (regulation, providers, distributors, infrastructure, clients, high volume payments providers)
    • Interactive workshops on key mission findings
    • Country reports with detailed assessment of opportunities and challenges for digital payments – and recommendations for development of the sector.

2015 – Improving Access to Remittances and other Financial Services through Digital Solutions in Jordan (GIZ)

Type: Market Study

  • Objective: Improve the access to and reduce cost of international remittances to refugees and the population in Jordan
  • Selected outcomes:
    • Provided insights on market development (access, usage, cost and quality of payments and other financial services, as well as into the regulatory framework, infrastructure, relevant stakeholders and potential partners);
    • Identified relevant background and guidance to BMZ/GIZ
    • Marked and shared reference points for an in-depth baseline study which formed the first pillar of the project.
  • Research Methodology
    • Analysis of market demand and behavior for remittances services or (digital) payment services
    • Education and Training needs assessment for a responsible use of financial services and ICT
    • Development of methods to reach the target group;
    • Analysis of the existing offer and provider of remittances services and DFS
    • Identification of opportunities and constraints of the regulatory framework for remittances and digital payment systems in Jordan
    • Assessment of potential cooperation partners for the implementation
    • Definition of potential market positioning, market entry strategy, customer value proposition for the project/GIZ and assessed the existing risks for the implementation of the project.
  • Human Centric Design & Behavioral Research

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    The objective of PHB S&S is to make sure that the solutions we help design and implement are solutions that bring value and resonate to the people we want to serve. In order to meet this objective, PHB S&S has been integrating a Human Centered Design approach in the way we do client research and product development. To PHB, HCD resonates as:

    • Hear with Empathy
    • Co-Create in Harmony
    • Deliver for Scalability

    We systematically customize our methodology and tools to fit the project’s objectives and the cultural specificity of the country/region we are going to immerse in.

    Our team is using a variety of tools – selecting the most relevant for each project- to reach our clients’ objectives.

    For example, we frequently use personas so we better empathize with clients and easily draw a market segmentation. Personas formats can be adapted to each and every projects according to what we are trying to highlight, such as family life, professional occupation, aspirations and daily routines, financial and telecommunication’ behaviors, etc. Although we cannot display here any personas that we have built (which are proprietary of our clients), we have designed personas that embodies our PHB consultants. That way, you can get an idea of our work – as well as get to know us better!

    The Achievers
    The Optimizers
    The Pioneers
    The Empathizers

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