Mind Your Money

Mind Your Money

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Design a way for people to improve their financial capability and manage their money better.

Challenge and scope

Managing money well can be hard. It means making ends meet day-to-day, responding to financial shocks such as reduced income (losing your job) or an unexpected expense (car breaks down), and putting aside money for the future.

Financial capability is more than just knowledge of abstract concepts; it is putting that knowledge into practice to manage money well. There are political and economic factors that shape people’s financial capability, but this brief asks you to address the social-psychological aspects that make it challenging for people to manage their money well.

Research from behavioural science shows that some of our natural human characteristics undermine our ability to manage money well. In a recent RSA report ‘Wired for Imprudence’, six of these ‘behavioural hurdles’ were identified as:

1.Cognitive overload. Having a lot on your mind impairs decision-making, and tends to result in selecting the simplest option, which is not necessarily the best one

2.Empathy gaps. Ever go for a night out with friends expecting to only spend a certain amount, and wake up the next morning realising you’ve spent double that? In the heat of the moment we sometimes spend very differently to what we want to spend when in a ‘cool state’, and it can be hard to predict by just how much

3.Optimism and overconfidence. Wearing rose-tinted glasses and having unrealistic expectations about the future can affect money management and leave you unprepared for a change in circumstance

4.Instant gratification. It can be hard to wait for ‘something better’ in the future. Seeking instant gratification drives impulsive spending and can undermine long-term planning and savings

5.Harmful habits. When something becomes a habit it can feel like it happens automatically or mindlessly. This means there’s less consideration of whether you really want to do whatever the habit is, which can result in unnecessary spending. One such purchase probably won’t break the bank, but when it becomes habitual, the spending can add up

6.Social norms. We are heavily influenced by the actions of others, causing pressure to keep up with the Joneses and live above our means. Spending and consumption norms are often visible – think of a new phone or the latest fashion. But activities like contributing to a pension or taking out insurance plans are less visible and therefore less catchy

Additionally, with the increasing use of cards, contactless, and online transfers instead of cash, our spending and saving behaviour may be less salient. Using cash can be a more ‘painful’ way of spending and therefore more noticeable, potentially increasing our motivation to change our ways. The overall message here is that trends in how people use money may also affect financial capability. The medium matters.

For the purposes of illustration, the following would all be viable responses:

  • a product that make it easier to keep track of money, make ends meet, bounce back from nasty financial surprises, or save for the future
  • a system that improves engagement with financial institutions (banks) by improving trust or making it easier to engage
  • a tool or service to enable real time tracking of spending
  • a way to improve people’s financial skills

… and many others are possible.

Note the difference between knowledge and skills. In this case, ensure your design goes beyond just improving abstract knowledge, and really focuses on the practical application of that knowledge.


There are two awards available for this brief.

RBS Award of £1500Paid Placement at NCR

Remuneration: £4600 (£3600 as wage and £1000 living away from home allowance)

Duration: 12 weeks

Location: Dundee, Scotland

The judging panel may decide on more than one winner and will allocate the awards accordingly. The judging panel may also award commendations.

In addition, all short-listed entrants will receive mentoring on their project and may be invited to the annual RBS Executive Team Lunch, Exhibition and Industry Networking Event in Summer 2017.

Sponsored by


With additional support from


Judging criteria

There are six criteria that your entry will be measured against – make sure that your submission materials demonstrate that your solution meets these criteria:

  1. Social and environmental benefit – how does your design benefit society and/or the environment?
  2. Research and insights – how did you investigate this issue? What were your key insights?
  3. Design thinking – how did your research and insights inform your solution? How did you develop, test, iterate and refine your concept? Demonstrate the journey you’ve been through to the end result
  4. Commercial awareness – does your journey make sense from a financial point of view? What is the competitive environment your solution would sit within?
  5. Execution – we are looking for a design that is pleasing and looks and feels well-resolved
  6. Magic – we are looking for a bit of ‘magic’ – a surprising or lateral design solution that delights

Submission requirements

All entries must be submitted through our online entry system.

As you prepare your submission, please ensure that: 

  • you do NOT include your name, university/ college or other identifying marks anywhere on your submission 
  • none of your submission files exceed 10MB – this is the maximum size for each individual file / board when you submit online 

The submission requirements are: 

  • 1 x A3 PDF Hero image with 1 sentence description A singular ‘poster image’ that conveys the essence of your project, plus a 1 sentence strapline or description 
  • 1 x A3 PDF Big Idea Summary A single A3 PDF page describing your ‘Big Idea’ in less than 250 words. This should clearly explain what your solution is, the specific area of need it addresses, and how you arrived at the solution
  • 4 x A3 PDF Boards Outlining Your Proposal 4 pages describing your proposal and demonstrating that you have met the six judging criteria. Each board should include a heading. Number each board in the top right hand corner, in the order they should be viewed by the judges 
  • 10 x A3 PDF Pages of Supporting Material Up to 10 A3 PDFs of additional material illustrating your development process – this could include scanned pages of your sketchbook or computer modelling/sketches (if applicable) 
  • Optional YouTube / Vimeo + website links Please note that we cannot guarantee supporting films and websites will be viewed at the shortlisting stage. If you have created digital materials, we recommend referencing them (for example by including labelled film stills or website screen grabs) in your 4 main PDF boards 

Eligibility + entry infomation

Download entry guidelinesDownload this brief

18 January 2017

Competition opens for entries

8 Febuary 2017

4pm GMT
£25 early bird deadline

8 March 2017

4pm GMT
£35 final entry deadline

20 March 2017

2-stage judging process begins

1 June 2017

2016/17 winners announced