May we introduce Minou Ghaffari of PAIR Finance.
Working in the FinTech industry is like coming and going, requires a high degree of professionalism in a thoroughly relaxed working environment and is above all characterised by innovation as well as good, clever and future-oriented ideas, according to the widespread consensus. But who are actually the brains and movers behind these creative thought processes, at the intersection of finance, digital technologies and entrepreneurship? In our series: The Faces of FinTech, we regularly ask one person from the payments and banking industry the same ten questions. This time Minou Ghaffari answers our questions.
May we present…
In the course of our day-to-day work, we frequently encounter exciting people who work in the same field, who we meet only once or every now and then, or who have even grown very fond of us privately – each of them has a story of their own. We interviewed a few of these people from our closest FinTech environment to put a face to them. To share why this industry is much more to them than just another way to pay his rent. We would like to briefly portray and introduce these people and their vita in a category of their own and have designed a questionnaire that is always the same.
Who are you, what do you do?
I’m Minou Ghaffari, decision psychologist at PAIR Finance. I’m originally from Hamburg, studied in Switzerland and have been living in Berlin for two years now. Prior to my job at PAIR Finance, I worked on the topic of decisions and their underlying processes as part of my doctorate. I am passionate about understanding how people make decisions and what factors influence them. The goal of my work as Head of Behavioral Science is to integrate findings from the research literature and our own research into our communications strategy. On the side, I give seminars on decision psychology to psychology students.
What were your first encounters with the payment and banking industry?
I had my first contact with the banking industry from a research perspective during my time at the Max Planck Institute. Here, the economic research groups have focused primarily on the issue of banking regulation. In the applied area, I then had direct contact with the payment and banking industry through my work at PAIR Finance.
When did you first notice the word FinTech?
I first became actively aware of the term when, after completing my doctorate, I was researching the industries in which decision psychology is relevant. As part of PAIR Finance and through the finleap network, the term then became more present for me over the last two years.
How do you define FinTech?
To me, FinTech means the digitalization of financial services. I am thinking of companies that position themselves as pioneers in terms of innovation, technological progress and rapid implementation in the industry.
What do you think established companies do better than FinTechs?
I think FinTechs can learn something from established companies in terms of structure and documentation. Often these issues are not given much attention, especially at the beginning, and fall victim to the fast pace of work. I can recall a few moments when I really appreciated good documentation, which ultimately saved me a lot of time.
What can you learn from FinTechs?
I believe that there are lessons to be learned from FinTechs, especially in product development. In order to move forward quickly, it is important not to work directly on the perfect solution, but instead on one that is first step enough (MVP). Many FinTechs work this way and can learn about the pros and cons of a product early on. In addition to that, I think there is a lot to learn from FinTechs in developing a good user experience.
“There is a lot to learn from FinTechs in developing a good user experience.”
As the focus is on digital processes and products, it is even more important to offer an intuitive and design-oriented user experience.
Why do established (large) companies have such a hard time with digitalization?
As a psychologist, the first thing I think of here is the resistance people often have to change. Moving from a “status quo” to a new option, has a psychological cost for people. In my view, this change process is one of the challenges for established companies when it comes to digitalization. The advantage of young companies here is that no change process has to take place, but can be started directly digitally.
What would you do for a living if you weren’t working in the payments and banking industry?
I would be looking at how to make teaching on the topic of decision psychology more innovative. How can new technologies be used more intensively here to bring students closer to the subject and make the application relevance clearer?
Which company would you like to work for one day?
I’d love to spend a day looking at the work of the Behavioral Insights Team. The team is headquartered in London and advises governments, organisations and foundations. The aim of their work is to steer people’s behaviour in a direction that brings about an improvement for the individual and the community. It would be super interesting to see how behavioral science insights are generated and used in this context.
Who would you like to have a beer with?
Richard Thaler! He is one of the leading behavioral economists and won the Nobel Prize in 2017 for his research in the field. He is concerned with how people make economic decisions and what incentives can be set to influence them. I’m sure more exciting ideas would come up over a beer.