The Story of the Finance Innovation Lab

I am really thrilled that during the weeks when media attention was on the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, we made a video that helped the Finance Lab win the NESTA/Guardian competition for the 50 radical ideas that transformed Britain!  And I am excited that over 1000 unique visitors have already seen the video in just a couple weeks! Our goal was to tell the story of the Lab and to invite others to join the conversation… and it is already happening!


The Lab is a space that enables you to pause, step back and reflect. Looking back at how we created the video, I think I learned three things:


Number one: a story has many faces. The Lab is a “place where people can come together to rethink and repurpose” (as a popular video goes). Therefore, the story of the lab can be best told through the voices and faces of many people. We aimed at creating an authentic, even amateurish feel of the video that shows the personal and human character of the Lab. I think the main strength of our story is the honest and unscripted conversation between professionals, entrepreneurs, and innovators who want to work together to recreate the finance system.


Number two: you can never underestimate the importance of technical factors

You always need more light than you think you do – of course we knew light was essential but it was only after seeing the interviews in FinalCut Pro, we knew we needed more. And while there are software effects that could partially compensate for underexposure, it is best to have more light from uniform sources.

Footage is never enough – every scene in the story line could be told in a richer way if you have more footage to choose from. After making the mistake of recording short segments of “exactly what we [thought] we need” we realised that we need more. Having extra scenes to select from, is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

Cameras enjoy the silence – hours spent in Adobe Soundbooth trying to remove the background noise of a cocktail chatter or the “Ground Floor. Going up!” from a suddenly opening lift, can teach you to listen before you speak. Having a quiet, uninterrupted space is really important, and we had to reshoot or play with most of the interviews in the video.

Every little helps – consistency and design elements can really help bring in the whole story together. Instead of using standard and default fonts and effects, we tried to incorporate design elements from the Lab’s brand.

Renewable energy – who hasn’t ran out of battery power during the most memorable moment worth recording. Even though I could blame it on poor design of battery level indicators, I have to admit it happened twice, even with the back-up camera. It is so easy to get carried away, when you work on something you truly enjoy! And this leads to the third lesson…


Number three: you can’t do great things unless you have fun. Indeed, video and sound editing asks for long hours, strong coffee and high processing power. But working with the amazing Rachel Sinha opened another level of combining creative fun with productivity. We really had fun making this video! And the enthusiasm and energy of everyone who helped us was truly contagious.


What’s next? I am eager to continue exploring new ways of engaging design thinking and communication in influencing sustainability strategy. My professional interest is in utilising visual and data tools that nudge financial and economics behaviour. I would love to connect with more people and collaborate on creative projects with greater purpose.


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