Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, has awarded LAB Group a grant of nearly £300,000, which will enable it to extend its research into and development of improved digital models for the protection of vulnerable customers in the financial services sector.
The award follows 18 months of groundwork by LAB which has seen it looking into new ways for financial services companies to meet their regulatory obligations to the ever-increasing proportion of UK adults deemed temporarily or chronically vulnerable.
The grant will enable LAB’s research team to develop technological and behavioral toolkits for companies to help address the detrimental outcomes of digital optimization methods, and improve the likelihood of regulatory compliance, digital inclusion, and fair customer treatment.
LAB worked with academics and industry bodies to develop a research methodology to underpin dynamic UX and choice architecture adaptation. The Innovate UK grant will help to fund the testing and research required to deliver enterprise-strength methods that help companies and their customers towards mutual benefit.
Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realize the potential of new ideas.
Dr Ian Campbell, Executive Chair, Innovate UK, said: “Businesses from all over the UK have answered our call rapidly to meet the challenges we face today and in the future through the power of innovation. The ideas we have seen can truly make a significant impact on society, improve the lives of individuals, especially those in vulnerable groups and enable businesses to prosper in challenging circumstances.”
Project sponsor, Adrian Webb, Chairman, LAB Group, said: “LAB’s mission over the last two years has adapted to incorporate the use of innovative psychology techniques to address deep-rooted societal issues. Within financial services, the breadth of UK customers who fall into the regulatory definition of vulnerable has expanded dramatically in recent times. Post-Covid-19 we expect it to undergo another step change. This grant underpins our goal to encourage pragmatic methods for companies to increase digital inclusion and customer protection but without unnecessarily damaging their core business.
“The team is passionate about the role that neuroscience and psychological modelling can play in helping the world. We all rely on financial services, so it’s a huge boost to have Innovate UK’s backing as we continue to develop sector-specific solutions to deep-rooted social problems in digital spaces.”