Harmony is not created by everyone singing the same note

History reveals a near constant battle in our efforts and failures to share information effectively. It is remarkably easy for information to be misunderstood. We all read and understand information differently, and we all create alternative ideas about how best to respond.

Conflicts happen between family members and close knit colleagues over completely different interpretations of the same information. So it should be of no surprise that our more complex relationships are subject to problems that are completely embedded in the methods we use to communicate.

This is playing out on a huge scale today in relation to the impact of Covid-19, and the rapidly rising amounts of arrears and debts that our households, families, and businesses are undertaking.

To avoid the massively detrimental impact of default, which we are going to start to see through increasing numbers of insolvencies and evictions, it is absolutely essential that people are engaged more effectively with consistent support throughout the entire financial relationship.

This means not only making sure that we can provide access for everyone to the right information, it means providing information in ways that drive a shared purpose and that enable supportive, informed decisions to be made. Information needs to be tailored and designed to deliver meaningful use, to drive financial systems and service provision that facilitates and relies upon more productive forms of understanding, engagement and collaboration.

There is a movement now that needs to be accelerated, towards self-service solutions, especially in the field of finance, lending and collections. We need everyone to be able to better visualise and understand their financial situation, to be able to create and adapt their own payment plans and schedules, respond to changing circumstances, and gain access to the support and assistance relevant to their needs.

The concept behind self-serving products and services represents the evolution of product and service design away from asymmetrical and hierarchical systems of communication, towards more balanced and equitable platforms for building sustainable relationships that will last far beyond the current pandemic.