How to make your fintech a solutionary organisation and not a problem-solving one
I’m not into jargon.
I understand why it’s essential in the context of a specialised business. Still, I’m a firm believer in connecting as human beings first, and I love to get to know my clients personally to understand their business, ethos and principles fully.
All this is to say: I resisted the word ‘solutionary’ when I first heard it. I thought it sounded like a more jargony way of saying someone was a problem solver. However, the word kept popping up. On podcasts and in articles. It seemed to be everywhere.
So, I caved, and I searched for a definition of the word. This brought me to the Institute for Humane Education website, where I learnt that being a solutionary is entirely different to being a problem solver. It is also where I was completely inspired by this concept and could not stop thinking about the fantastic individuals I work with who I would now describe as solutionaries.
The definition of a solutionary, according to the Institute for Humane Education, is someone who strives to make choices and support systems that do the most good and the least harm. It is someone who is always looking for the inhumane and unsustainable and developing transformative solutions, finding ways to make the world more humane and sustainable. It goes beyond doing the best we can in a limited system and towards imaginatively changing the systems themselves.
Being a solutionary involves applying critical systems and strategic and holistic thinking to a problem to design and implement plans that do the most good and don’t end up causing harm in other areas. This is where solutionaryism and environmental, social and governance (ESG) policy are the most connected – good ESG policy and communications will work together. So many projects that positively impact the environment also have a social impact, and your company governance policy is also likely to impact the communities you work in positively.
A fintech company that is tackling these different factors is GoHenry. It provides pre-paid cards to young people and to parents who are unsure how to teach their kids about money management in today’s financial climate of subscription services, online game payments and cashless shops. But it doesn’t stop there – GoHenry is also committed to teaching the young people it serves about sound financial decisions through its money missions and gamifies earning rewards and saving towards goals. On top of this, the cards are now made out of biodegradable material and a tree is planted through their partnership with Eden Reforestation every time their cards are used.
An example of a solutionary person is Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi ‘banker to the poor’ who saw how traditional banking systems were not serving poorer communities and so started Grameen Bank, which lends out microloans to allow people from poorer communities to set up businesses and lift themselves out of poverty in an empowering way. Yunus values education, which is at the core of Grameen Bank – he believes in teaching his customers sound financial principles so they can more easily manage their money.
Yunus’ approach has had a huge impact, sparking social and economic change and promoting equality – 94% of the company’s microloan recipients have been women, and it has inspired hundreds more organisations to give microloans.
A considerable part of what the Institute for Humane Education teaches is that change will be made by teaching young people to approach problems in this way, but also in staying positive in the face of the issues we face. As I outlined in last month’s column, positive mental health is vital if we are to continue to think creatively, solve problems and not fold under the pressure of the challenges we face.
Alongside teaching the young people in our lives to do this, those of us that are in positions to make it easier for these young people to make better choices should be doing so. We can communicate the positive changes our businesses are making and highlight the good it does in all areas. Not only will you win business from a new generation that values businesses that are making a positive impact, you might also inspire them to tackle a problem in their world with a solutionary mindset.
This is what I found so exciting about the solutionary approach: with solutionary thinking that works on addressing challenges by solving the problems within the system, the impact can be vast and wide-reaching. The positive impact this has on young people who see it can cause them to think in a more solutionary way, addressing problems in their worlds – which, again, can impact beyond the immediate problem.
I’m going to leave today’s column with a request – take a moment, and imagine the change you could cause simply by taking a solutionary approach to your fintech’s ESG policies.
About the author
Gihan Hyde is the award-winning communication specialist and founder of CommUnique, an ESG communication start-up.
She has been implementing ESG campaigns in eight sectors, across six countries over the past 20 years.
Her campaigns have positively impacted over 150,000 employees and 200,000 customers and have closed over £300m in investment deals. Some of the clients she has advised include The World Health Organisation (WHO), HSBC, Barclays, M&S, SUEZ, Grundfos, Philip Morris, USAID, and the Saudi Government.
Get in touch with Gihan through LinkedIn or Twitter @gehanam.