Design Thinking: The Wallet and Mastercard

Mastercard announced to release a next generation display card in Singapore. The interactive payment card has a built-in display and touch sensitive buttons.

This plays very well with two design thinking activities I had during this summer.

The Xing Design Thinking Group Munich had a great event in July at the Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship

Florian Huber, who is managing the ape program at the SCE gave a very interesting introduction and then it was do-it-yourself. We all did a practical Design Thinking exercise in redesigning the wallet. In pairs we reflected on, i.e. tried to understand, customer needs and requirements for the wallet before we started the design and prototyping work. A lot of fun with pizza and beer

And then on August 1st, Daniel Bartels transformed combinat56 coworking space into a Design Thinking lab. He gave an introduction into Design Thinking before again everybody jumped into the Redesign-the-Wallet exercise.

Besides the great introductions into Design Thinking, doing the same exercise – redesigning the wallet – with a different partner in a different setup was a very special experience. Each round brought great insight, but very different solutions and designs.

But now coming back to the Mastercard initiative. The last design was based on the idea that the main purpose of the wallet today is to carry different cards (credit cards, payment cards, passports, driver license) around. So why not combine all those into a single multi-purpose card and make that the key component of the next generation wallet. The same form factor as today’s credit cards, hosting a programmable magnetic stripe and embedded chip that can emulate any other real credit card. And a screen to manage the different identities of the card as well as to display other information, like pictures.  Additionally there would be a programming device that would copy all the other cards into this single multi-purpose card. Not sure about the technical feasibility of the design, but it sounded like a pretty cool device.

Why would this be better than a smartphone with NFC and the corresponding wallet application. Well as long as the credit card is the form factor that works at any point of sales it is just easier to have something that behaves as a credit card with the flexibility of a smart device.

Maybe Mastercard just released version 1.0 of our wallet design.

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