Future Foresight

Have you ever wondered how the future of private data will look like? With the support of Berliner Ideenlabor, the Spark Labs team applied the methods of Future Foresight to brainstorm on possible future scenarios. This method builds on the basis of speculative design to identify how different trends affect or might affect your idea or organization in the coming years. With the help of forecasting and scenario building techniques, we practiced how to conduct a holistic strategic analysis of the external environment through the STEEP matrix. This brainstorming tool allows you to understand and identify the major forces (positive or negative) that will be likely to influence the future of your organization from different perspectives (society, technology, economy, environment and policy). 

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China is not anymore what people expect it to be

If you still have the perception of China as an inexhaustible pool of cheap, reliable, inexhaustible labor able to compete on ‘quantity’ rather than ‘quality’, you might have to reconsider your opinion. For the last three decades, China has evidently put scientific and technological innovation at the core of its productivity growth. This suggests that if in the 1990s the low labor costs, favorable infrastructures and relaxed regulations made the country the ideal outsourcing partner for Western companies, the unprecedented government investment in R&D, innovativeness and technological intensity made China one of the most crucial economic allies of the 21st century.

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Design Thinking Executive Training Vol. 1

When it comes to innovation, one has to keep in mind the significance of recognizing the needs of people in their strategies. This especially applies to individuals in executive positions that have to incorporate more than the possibilities of technology and requirements of business into their innovation strategy. Spark Labs Design Thinking Executive Training offers an extensive opportunity to unleash one’s full innovation capability. Eight professionals in executive positions had the chance to address today’s innovation challenges using Human-Centered Design on the 9th and 10th of June. This hands-on training, taking place in the unique innovation Leo Loft at ETH Zurich, provided them with a particular knowledge that helped them activate a creative mindset. Together with like-minded professionals, our participants were able to uncover their innovation potential through agile, collaborative teamwork, while discovering valuable skills.

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Blockchain business value

Blockchain is considered the greatest revolution since the advent of the Internet. This technology is a relatively new concept, but it is increasingly taking afoot in a wide variety of industries. A recent World Economic Forum report predicts that by 2025 10% of GDP will be stored on blockchains or blockchain related technology. 

Set to reach full maturity over the next decade, the digital paradigm embeds a decentralized, distributed network as its backbone and a public ledger shared by its participants, which guarantees data to be stored, facts to be verified and security to be virtually protected. What is very appealing about this technology is that it offers the intriguing possibility of eliminating intermediaries, as it allows competitors to share data without the need for a central authority. Moreover, no single party has the power to tamper with the records, which are verified and recorded across a network of computers spread around the world.

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Linda Armbruster
Banking Customer Journey

The Banking Customer Journey represents an extract from a comprehensive human-centered research on the Swiss retail banking landscape, conducted in 2016 in cooperation with Asteroidea AG, a strategy and investment firm, to enable a holistic view on the banking customer experience.

Throughout our research we found that customer’s opinions regarding banking are at an all time low. The financial crisis has exacerbated the lack of trust in banks and bankers, while at the same time exerting pressure on banks to cut costs, trim services and automate wherever possible, creating a cyclical effect that is difficult to break away from. With new financial providers entering the market, customers have more options than ever and no longer consider banks to offer critical advantage over newer types of banks or technology corporations. Therefore, we at Spark Labs believe, that this is a crucial time for financial institutions to stay relevant by providing the most superior, consistent and effortless customer experience in order to acquire new, retain existing or win back lost customers. This requires a shift from a transactional mind-set to a more customer-centric approach.

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Linda Armbruster