Enabling students and professionals to “educate themselves” on making appropriate career choices
Enabling a large body of sales training content to be used fully and effectively
Enabling software professionals to enhance value in a project relationship
Enabling a large bank to codify and diffuse best-practice behavior rapidly
Enabling a change agency to enhance the assimilation and applicationization of health-education messages by the target audience
Enabling a large bank to codify and diffuse best-practice behavior rapidly

A leading commercial bank has sought to aggressively expand its presence in the small business lending segment. In its efforts, it has used a number of techniques from “retail lending”, combined with some of the wisdom deriving from large project lending. The most important efforts have included the use of clustering of small businesses into “similar groups” with common lending norms.

Our team of consultants was asked to find an alternative model of credit assessment which would enable each of its credit officers to benefit from the wisdom and experience inherent in the system, while combining it with the aggression needed in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Our team began with the hypothesis that there are embedded in the system some ways of thinking and doing which have proved effective in the past. Some of this can be called “tacit knowledge” while other elements of this could be called “methods of knowledge” (i.e. the models of analysis and conclusion-making that is a product of both individual and cultural upbringing).

As we went deeper, we found that this narrow definition of “expertise” was insufficient in describing what seemed to differentiate effective lending from ineffective lending. The difference was seen not just in the way the bankers knew things but also in the way they acted and responded to clients. The two broad categories of bankers, our team called “responsive bankers” and “reactive bankers”.

Illumine’s approach to the challenge was to see responsive bankers as superior ‘Credit Solution Designers’ who were willing to configure new ways of using credit to enable clients leverage their own businesses.

The solution involved

  • Specifying the specific differences in the way successful bankers responded to a situation.
  • Leveraging this insight into creating a set of “design enablers” that allowed these responses to be generalized and scaled.
  • Providing local tools that integrate fresh contextual knowledge into generic insight.
  • Using this new knowledge to support new credit configurations for each customer.
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