Service Designer and Consumer Psycholgist


Visa Collab

Working in a small team developing and running Collab, Visa Europe’s innovation lab, running customer research, product development, collaborating with start-ups and developing the strategic direction of Visa Europe’s innovation pipeline.

The client

Visa Collab was set up as a semi-independent innovation lab for Visa Europe, with the CEO, COO and CFO of Visa Europe on the board.

It was founded with the objective of finding new opportuntiies for Visa Europe to  drive transactions and leverage it's network and expertise to benefit the cooperative of european banks that owned it.

The Challenge

Visa Collab had a list of over 200 start-ups and ideas that it wanted to work with or develop, but limited capacity and a short time frame to manage them.

Our team developed a 100 day programme to take each idea or start-up through with the goal of developing a Proof of Concept


Projects and Learnings

The process

We began with a process built on our expertise, which we refined over time to better suit the project's needs, but it always had the same steps, and the 100 days process to complete. A project could be removed from the process at any time if it didn't look promising.

We also ran events and PR campaigns along with the proof of concepts as a way to raise the profile of our work, and get a feel for the landscape.


1 Gathering ideas: Collecting ideas through the online portal, events and internal gathering from Visa.

2 Qualification: We developed focus areas and prioritise for the lab, so we could ensure we only spent energy on projects that were suitable.

3 Research: Conducting user and desk research to validate or further develop ideas.

4 Co-creation and Design: Rapid prototyping and testing to iterate ideas and remove problems.

5 Proof of Concept: Launch proof of concept to test the idea in the real world

6 Review: Review the project, and identify the relevant department within Vodafone for handover and further work if suitable

Main projects

Project I worked on included:

- High value contactless payments, proof of Concept for London Fashion Week, with House of Holland

- How users interact with different wearable devices, and are they trusted for payments?

- Instalment payments in every day credit cards

- Using blockchain technology for cheaper international payments

- How to bring academic research and expertise into the 100 day PoC process


Key Learnings

Over the period of the project, there were some key things we learned, and had to account for as part of the process.

- Handing over the business is HARD, making sure that everything we had learned and the ways of working we had developed didn't get lost was a major challenge.

- People hate killing off ideas, once a project had started it was difficult to stop it. We had to develop clear gates and approvals to actively remove projects that didn't look successful.

- Change ownership, people who brought ideas to the lab shouldn't manage them through the process to remove bias.

- Make sure your "Vision" is felt, it is easy to set a vision that sounds impressive, but it also needs to be felt in the work that's done. It needs to limit the work sometimes, or push it in the right direction.