This article was written with data and analysis from DDD's research team, including Duncan Washington and Joash Mango.

The question, “What do you dream to do with your phone?” may seem fairly trivial to answer. Maybe you’d say, “I’d like to open Snapchat in under 30 seconds,” if your smartphone experience is anything like mine. Or maybe, more practically, you’d answer, “charge people’s credit cards for things they want to buy.”

But, what if you were asked, “What do you dream to be able to accomplish on your smartphone with Digital Financial Services?” That’s a little more complex. What are Digital Financial Services exactly? Is that M-Pesa? PayPal? Where does Bitcoin fit in? What if I buy things on Amazon a lot? Does that count? How much time have we got to discuss this?

We asked potentially difficult questions like these to our DSO project respondents in Kenya. And, after DDD’s researchers conducted a first round of interviews, they reported several aspects of the interview questions and process that need to be improved. This wasn’t unexpected, either. Following from DDD and Mozilla’s previous research experience, our original intent was to routinely iterate on the content and pace of the interviews, using data from respondents and insights from the researchers themselves.

Here are a few interesting things we learned from the first round of interviews, some of which have already impacted the flow of our second interview:

  • People generally understand the idea of Digital Financial Services, but only when exemplified by a service with which they’re familiar (e.g. M-Pesa).
  • Many people relate to DFS via online commerce (e.g. OLX), social media product promotion, and media (e.g. digital TV). This may have implications on the content on which we base our interventions (curriculum and software) over the course of the year.
  • Responding to questions like, “What do you dream of being able to do with DFS?” is difficult, and yields interesting gaps in demand and understanding. Some people dream of being able to download physical money from their phones, circumventing a money agent.
  • Questions often feel repetitive or out of order, which makes respondents confused and conscious about the time they spend being interviewed. While we do pilot each interview, it’s difficult to design a natural progression for the entire audience. However, we can continue to develop our interview over time to make it more generally acceptable while maintaining the quality of data we collect.
  • Soccer betting is a hobby in which many respondents partake. Many use their smartphones not only to place their bets (with services like SportPesa), but to research their choices as well. This is a noteworthy motivator for smartphone adoption and may indicate some direction for interventions.
  • Some respondents want to develop their own apps. We would love to follow up on this point to understand exactly what this demand looks like.

DDD’s research team was also able to make some recommendations on which areas we should focus our analysis and synthesis using data and profiles gathered from interviews:

  • Potentially, a respondent’s region and dwelling type (Peri-urban, Rural, Urban) may have an impact on their knowledge and adoption of technology. We should compare data across regions and dwelling types.
  • There is gender parity across the sample group, so it will be interesting to compare use of digital financial services between men and women across each research site, and the group overall.
  • Incorporating dwelling type into gender parity analysis is also important. E.g. “Do women in rural settings use more DFS than those in urban settings?”

Now, the DSO team is working on the first intervention, and the second interview. Both will need to draw from first interview insights.

View Comments