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[Proposed Experiment]: SoCon Fiji - Useful and measurable financial training - July 2018

The Problem

Having reliable and valid financial statements is one way of traditionally measuring the risk of someone applying for a loan. But how do we combat this if our client does not possess such statements?

There is an argument for financial training.

How do we know what to train for?

In previous months in Fiji, SoCon operated an educational model which looked at all areas of business training; from finance and accounting workshops to marketing and business strategy. While these were well developed and well thought out, they may be neither useful nor measurable.

We have to remember that we are not an educator, but SoCon is looking to become a Micro-financer. Thus, the training we provide should be useful for us, as a Micro-financer, to reduce risk. Additionally, we need to test whether or not the content we develop actually works to reduce risk, thus it is important that it be measurable.

Our experiment this month

In line with this logic, we have developed a digital MVP to test in and around Sigatoka town. It is a workshop that details the necessary inputs for an income statement, and details a simple way of recording this data. Understanding how to record a business’ revenues and expenses has many benefits for the client; including ability to budget properly, implement relevant controls, and also benefits when applying for loans. And for us, as a Micro-financer, it has the benefit of being able to more accurately assess the risk of default of a client applying for a loan. To do this, we created a 15 minute training video, that goes through various definitions and the process of filling out the income statement worksheet.

In order to make this measurable, however, we had to introduce an experiment. We need to know whether or not the information taught in the training session was easily applicable to people’s everyday lives, and whether they would be capable to actually implement this. Thus, we asked participants to record their revenues and expenses in the worksheet for 5-days after our training session; so that we could observe whether they had implemented it correctly, and had the ability to send it to us.

This will allow us to make a solid evaluation on whether our training actually ‘worked’ and how applicable and practical it is.

What are we measuring

In terms of analysing this information, we have split it into a couple of factors.

  1. Usability of a digital function. This is important to observe if SoCon plans to go digital with training in the future, thus we analysed how easy it was for customers to interact with a digital platform, relevant diagrams on the platform, and also whether they were able to communicate with us via relevant technology (e.g. sending a photo of their income statement worksheet via Facebook).

  2. Usefulness, and ability to apply to their own lives. As previously mentioned, this training will only be valid if it can be applied to people’s own lives; and thus we looked at various factors that affected their ability to apply this - whether that be English speaking, listening, or reading ability (as the training is in English), education level, age, the usability of technology etc.

We have not properly analysed this data, and thus cannot provide these insights at the moment, but I will be making another post in a couple of days with this information.

A brief note on ‘other’ content

I will also make a brief note on general business training. There has been much debate about ‘what content’ is actually useful to reduce the risk of clients. I do believe there is a somewhat long-term argument for training for things such as marketing, or supply chain management, but I fear that these things may be too costly and difficult to measure in the short-term to be applicable to what we are doing.

Thus if we were to give more general business workshops on these topics, I am not certain that we would actually see the results of this in a short enough time period for it to be useful. And while implementing a sustainable long-term business strategy could potentially decrease the risk of a client; I fear that it is just too ‘long-term’ for it to be useful to us at this stage. I cannot think of many ways to track this in a low-cost and scalable way.

Having said this, I am interested in the potential for content such as this, and am open to a discussion about how best we could measure things like this. So if you have thoughts on this, please feel free to leave a comment.

Let me know what you think of this experiment and please post some thoughts/feedback.

Rose  

 

edited on 5th September 2018, 23:09 by Justin Hakeem

Zoe Cahill 6 months ago

Status label added: Proposed Experiment

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Wade Tink 6 months ago

With respect to this experiment are you posting the proposed experiment or the results as it appears it has already been conducted?
With the experiment what were the following areas:
Phase of the lean process?
Assumption you are validating? (You have described it as "What we are measuring")
Period of time this experiment will be conducted?
Success Metrics?
What kind of experiment will you use? What method?

I look forward to your post on results.

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Wade Tink 6 months ago

Status label added: Idea/Concept Not Complete

Status label removed: Proposed Experiment

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Isaac Crawford 6 months ago

Hey Rose, how do you guys plan to test usability? Will it be through a customer survey? Or will you guys infer basic metrics from the customers engagement?

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