“The final goal is not just to digitize the banking business – we rather want to shape banking in a digital world.”

Nadin Chucher, Head of Quartier Zukunft, Q Club, Deutsche Bank AG

Innoboard: There is no consistent definition of innovation. Every industry and every department perceive it differently. How would you define innovation at “Quartier Zukunft” at Deutsche Bank? 

Nadin Chucher: Innovation needs thinking outside of traditional boxes. This is what we tried to do when setting up Quartier Zukunft. And innovation goes clearly beyond just refurbishing or improving already existing products.

We are firmly convinced that also tomorrow, people will be eager to meet other people in a physical location suitable for discussing important matters in a discrete atmosphere. This certainly also applies when it comes to personal financial decisions and their respective consequences. Thus, branches and their staff will continue to play a crucial role for banks and their customers.

However, most individuals probably won’t visit their branch once or even several times a week, as many of us still used to do maybe ten years ago. This change of behavior is, next to other reasons, due to the fact that most of us do their daily banking (like e.g. settlements or cash service) via other channels.

In this sense, Deutsche Bank has taken a fresh view of how a branch will operate in the next years or even decades. The dialogue and personal interaction among people is always in the focus. Within this framework, Quartier Zukunft reflects many ideas and concepts that we consider as promising for future retail banking and being worth to be tested in a ‘real life’-environment. In the end, our customers will decide about the further outcome of those ideas and concepts. Their feedback is highly appreciated and continuously collected by the staff of Quartier Zukunft.

Two examples of such concepts are: First, ‘ICIC’ which stands for ‘Innovation, Community, Inspiration and Coaching’ (for details see below). Second, the concept of complete connectivity between all analogue and digital realms of Deutsche Bank’s products and services which is to be experienced at Quartier Zukunft for the first time.

 

“As digital as necessary, as human as possible!“ This is your description for new forms of future banking. Which kind of human contact points do you see as necessary in a world without physical contact to customers? 

It is all about humans. And humans are social beings. So the two dimensions of “digital” and “human” don’t play in the same league. In our understanding, the customers should never have the feeling that technology is dominant when they meet their bank. In doing so, digital technology delivers ever more opportunities to support human needs e.g. in terms of easing social communication via long distances. Daily experience and empirics show that humans do not appreciate being left alone in a world that is over-saturated with touch screens and robots. In the context of the future design of banks, this means that setting up high-tech branches leads into a dead end if those branches fail to touch people in their hearts at the same time. Only humans can be ‘heartbreakers’ (and not anybody for anyone by the way, see below for a specific example in Quartier Zukunft). All that also applies to the relationship between customers and their respective personal advisors.

As stated above, human or personal contact is essential – today and in future. However, personal is not synonymous with physical contact in the sense of being in the same place. Videoconferencing for example has seen enormous technical progress in recent years and nearly makes people feel to sit in front of one another. So, for example a customer of Deutsche Bank and his advisor will meet in a branch in order to lay the basis for say a real estate finance. This initial meeting might hopefully end into a handshake. For all follow-up meetings, the customer has the choice either to come back to his branch or to use the service of a Deutsche Bank ‘Beratungscenter’ (advisory center) starting nationwide in the first quarter of 2017. From there all questions and necessary steps will be addressed by a highly experienced advisor via Videoconference, co-browsing or online chat.

 

In your department “Quartier Zukunft“, customers can choose their favorite consultant, take part of events, relax and eat together. For which customers did you design your way of banking and your business model? 

We designed “Quartier Zukunft” for all of our current and potential customers. Of course we made it also for Berlin and the people of Berlin. A “Quartier Zukunft” for Munich or Hamburg would look different but the concept itself is for all of our customers.

Quartier Zukunft offers premium personal advice to its visitors. But the ICIC concept goes clearly beyond that. Just one example referring to the last letter ‘C’ standing for ‘Coaching’. In the rear of the premises, visitors find a coaching zone. This features a facility for holding events including talks or presentations for customers and other visitors. An example for that is our new workshop “How to be a Berliner”, where we want to help people who are new in Berlin. We give them helpful information about apartment-hunting, child-care and a lot more interesting things.

The concept aims at bringing creative people together. This goal is not limited to customers and their bank advisors. So for example start-ups based in Berlin may meet here in order to talk about their business models. German Mittelstand corporates or business angels may join to discuss possible cooperations. A special place belonging to Quartier Zukunft is dedicated to such meetings, called the “Gewächshaus” or “greenhouse”.

 

“Banking is necessary, banks are not!” What do you think about this statement? How will the future of banking look like? 

That statement dates back to 1994 when banking still more or less meant “the branch around the corner”. Seen from today it was an important wake-up call for the industry in those days. Today, 23 years later, the world is a different one, and the statement now fails the reality test. At least when considering Deutsche Bank. In recent years, a tremendous approach has been undertaken in a drive for business transformation. Our retail business today follows a clear omni-channel strategy: Our customers are able to contact their bank via different channels, depending on their personal preferences. This includes the personal advisory service in a physical branch but of course also an easy access to the bank and its products via all known digital channels. The comprehensive program linked with that has been backed by 1 billion euros of commitment by Deutsche Bank, and this bidget is invested in digitization until the year 2020.

However, the task has not been accomplished yet. Banks have to change how they interact with customers. This is the reason why we created the ICIC concept. The final goal is not just to digitize the banking business – we rather want to shape banking in a digital world.

 

About the interviewee:

Nadin Chucher is head of the ’Quartier Zukunft’, the premium experience store of Deutsche Bank in Berlin. As co-chief of concept development of ’Quartier Zukunft’ she brings in her many years of experience in consulting of sophisticated clients and her experience in leadership of QII0. No matter if architecture, the variety of use cases or the customer care concept. Nadin Chucher has and will always focus on the practical relevance. Even today, after the grand opening of ’Quartier Zukunft’, she questions, motivates to experiment and encourages innovation by providing freedom and energy.

’The best way to predict the future is to invent it.’ (Alan Kay) – The devise of ’Quartier Zukunft’ and Nadin Chucher.



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