To be frank, conventional methods of studying the FinTech business domain (sharing knowledge bases, lectures, financial classes, etc.) tend to be boring. In such an ultra-modern industry, aren’t there better ways to ensure employee involvement? At INSART, we found a new method of engaging developers that helps them understand the needs of users, see the bigger picture, and improve their personal finance skills.
When the lack of engagement goes unaddressed, it can cost you significant expenses on task explanation, whereas a large amount of your product team’s time can be wasted. Still, we think there’s no better way to get into wealth management than putting one’s own hands into it. We conducted an experiment wherein we asked our engineers to play a financial game called “The Life Capital,” a personal finance simulator. We paired the game with an exclusive practical workshop on how to manage personal funds.
About the game
“The Life Capital” is a modern “Cashflow 101” game adaptation, an educational tool in board game format originally designed by Robert Kiyosaki. We adapted it to cater to the local realities of Eastern Europe, added assets and businesses that employees can easily understand. The object of the game was to leave “the rat race” playing field, enter the next stage called “financial freedom” (which is the analog of Kiyosaki’s “fast track”), and buy the “dream.” Players engage in “investment,” “demand,” “expenditures,” and many more FinTech events. Every move requires players to make a decision, record every transaction and status change, and track how their assets generate income in a risk-free setting.
Player record sheets are divided into “income” and “expenditures” sections. The former comprises salary, bank deposits, insurance, intellectual property, gold, businesses, realty, securities, as well as a safety bag. The latter includes taxes, utility services, household bills, children expenses, and debt obligations. While playing, engineers acquire an understanding of how each of these instruments works.
For example, a player might have an opportunity to buy mutual funds at a favorable rate. What is their next move? How big of an investment is rational? Should they use this opportunity individually or share with other players for mutual benefit? The game reveals the flow of reasoning people experience while managing finance, showing why we take this or that financial decision and whether it impacts our wallets. The model encourages every player to search for as many economically advantageous opportunities as possible.
How does the game help engineers do their job?
To be successful, FinTech engineers need to have unique abilities, adaptability and flexibility chief among them. Also, attention to detail and responsibility are crucial for FinTech companies that work with a huge amount of data, where the price of even a small mistake can be immense. FinTech isn’t for the faint of heart, but there are ways to make the path easier for employees and motivate them to become experts.
The game teaches engineers to build partnerships and prioritize collectivity, which is crucial for the software development industry as a whole and the startup FinTech environment specifically. Personal finance management skills acquired by employees during gameplay enable them to own their own financial freedom, which also drives increased loyalty and motivation.
What participants are saying
Database developer at INSART:
“I liked the game. [I] witnessed that I’m inclined to be careless with my finances. I missed zeros [and] forgot fixing contracts and keeping a record of my accounts. When I got home, the first thing I did was check all my payment card transactions since the beginning of the year. This ended up with my catching the bank charging me an additional 4-percent commission for delivery services without me even knowing. That’s the way the game worked for me in less than 24 hours!”
QA engineer at INSART:
“I liked that we communicated a lot [and] used arguments to prove our points of view. We all [struck] the right balance between the team’s interests and the personal stake.”
Senior QA engineer at INSART:
“[Since playing the game], I’ve already established a deposit account and sold an apartment to get active capital, but [I’ve] never taken out a loan. […] This Monday, I’ll try (laughs). I’ve been saving under my pillow all my life. Now, I see it’s time to start investing. Actually, I didn’t like board games that much until now. For me, it was more of a training. I’ve hit upon the idea of how stunning the partnerships are. The model has proved itself all the way through.”
The key is engagement
What’s the rationale of making investors and traders out of developers? By walking in the shoes of their users, developers can anticipate possible problems. Seeing the bigger picture contributes to their productivity and shared understanding. Thus, engineers shift from a mere workforce into experts who are able to craft extraordinary solutions.