Live from day 1 of the Pensions Dashboard Tech Sprint!

By Shaun Gomm | 12/04/2017

We're currently participating in a two day hackathon, or TechSprint as co-organisers HM Treasury and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) would prefer to call it, at Aviva's Digital Garage in Shoreditch. The event brings together insurance providers, government representatives, and the technology firms who are working on the much anticipated UK Pensions Dashboard, due to launch in 2019, to work openly and collaboratively together, using the data and architecture created so far to develop new ideas and concepts that might make it into the final product, or related products and services. 

pensions dashboard TechSprint ideas

So far, we've heard from some of the great and good in the pensions industry, had a demo of the current prototype, discussed the latest thinking, and formed teams to work on ideas and solutions to some of the challenges that can be distilled from the user personas developed for the project. 

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Michelle Cracknell, CEO of The Pension Advisory Service, really hit the nail on the head when she encouraged the industry to focus on the customer journey and to make sure that the dashboard makes it as easy as possible for people to use, to find the information they need, and to take action on it. She also warned that "we don't do enough with life events - insurers know when people move house or have a baby, and we need to use these triggers to encourage people to engage with their pensions".
  • Phillip Walter, Group CEO of Aquila Heywood the fintech technology provider, echoed our view when he suggested that we need to learn more from other countries who have done this successfully, such as Australia and Sweden. Sigma has worked with Minpension.se, the Swedish pensions dashboard for many years, researching, designing and building the portal which is now in its third generation. Phillip also drew attention to "the UK's £9 Trillion savings gap" which certainly underlined the importance of this project.
  • Simon Kirby, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury addressed the audience by reinforcing the government's commitment to the project, but faced a number of questions on the slightly thorny subject of 'one dashboard vs many'. The minister confirmed his staunch view that "we need multiple dashboards to give consumers choice" which did seem somewhat at odds with the views of some in the room, and indeed with Jackie Spencer's (of the Money Advice Service) white paper which found that consumers preferred "a single destination dashboard for reasons of trust, assurance with their data, and simplicity in a complex subject area". 

We're working now on our prototype for a new approach to presenting data in the dashboard, and for using the life events that Michelle Cracknell spoke of, to drive better engagement. 

More on this tomorrow!