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James Robert Lay: 

What is financial inclusion? And why is it important for your financial brand to be thinking about financial inclusion as you think about future growth? Well, let's find out together on today's episode of the banking on digital growth podcast

 

Greetings and Hello, I'm James Robert Lay and I'd like to welcome you to another episode of the banking on digital growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the exponential insights series. And joining me for today's conversation is Viola Llewellyn. Viola is the founder and CEO of the toolbox. And today, we're going to dive into how your bank credit union or FinTech can effectively engage communities to foster financial inclusion, which as a result, can help you unlock future growth opportunities. Welcome to the show, viola, it is great to share time with you today.

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

Well, thank you very much, James, it's good to be here. Thank you.

 

James Robert Lay: 

Absolutely. And before we get into talking about how to engage communities, how to foster financial inclusion, what is good in your world right now, personally, and professionally, it is always your pick to get started.

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

There's a lot going on. But let me see what's relative and important here. I think the fact that 2024 is shaping up to be a much better year than 2023 already. And I have found new ways in which to discuss financial inclusion, small and medium enterprise engagement, and self curated female leadership in order to exist in a world where everything should be possible because of financial inclusion. But we're all still trying to find the best tools and products to drive that. And I'm doing it through self curated leadership, which I hopefully will lead to better prosperity for everyone. Absolutely.

 

James Robert Lay: 

It's interesting. And I really appreciate the way that you framed up 2024 is feeling even better than 2023. I'm right there with you. And I just think this is a general theme and tone. What would you attribute that to from your lens of the world this positive progress, if you will?

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

Well, my gut feel about it is in 2023, the level of uncertainty was such a huge Delta ride, nobody was really sure when the next shoe was going to drop, and it dropped a few shoes. Yes, now that we've got what feels like the worst of horses under our belt, I think some people have used that as a way to create a sense of resilience in their world, to review how they treat finance. And that nexus that you and I have talked about between culture, personal psychology, and the presence or lack of presence of opportunity, not so much physical money. And in 2024, for myself, I had a good opportunity to think through what hurt the most in 2023. And it was the uncertainty. So now being able to engage, especially with other women for how do we build resilience so that we can go back to having very large ambitious dreams around what will financial inclusion do to make our lives more productive, I feel braver, other people feel braver, I understand that I survived 2023 with a paucity of capital and a destruction of opportunity, which is how it felt, I feel that I can control that better in 2024, through better engagement with individuals. So everything feels new. I'm very excited. We understand the language of central banks, we understand the language of economy. So therefore, we can do things a little different.

 

James Robert Lay: 

It's interesting, this idea of we'll call it surviving versus thriving, I would say I feel some of that, in reflection, in hindsight, with 2023 2023. That was a year of surviving, we could take those lessons learned. And you mentioned that the idea of psychology, post traumatic stress, versus post traumatic growth, it's a newer perspective in the field of psychology, but it's how do you take negative painful experiences and transform them into courage into resiliency into the fuel for future growth, which I think if you if you think about the aspect of money and finances and how this goes back, in some cases, multiple generations across multiple cultures, and impacts a person right now in the present moment, what can we do to a gain awareness into how that is impacting us and be be able to use that awareness to then take action and apply that new knowledge apply that new insight to move forward on our own journeys of growth, which in their turns. I know you've talked a lot about financial inclusion. What is is it? How would you define that to begin our conversation here today?

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

And let's just mess up everything you said by saying, and if you look at that, from underneath the ever encompassing blanket of AI, where do I start to choose what I'm going to believe in? Yeah, that impacts culture. And it impacts it's impacted by culture, and by personal philosophy, past experiences, post traumatic stress that you mentioned so beautifully, Robert, and this is what it looks like for us, without an under an honest understanding of what is true. And knowing that because we are now being sectioned into more past society, so you can't just talk about a market group you'll really curating down to the individual, and taking into account what they've learned. I have African parents from Cameroon, I was born in the UK, there is a part of me that is so dichotomized, from what I see in our culture, which is that when the things are tough, the the the psychology of poverty seems to be very protective. And no matter what is being said, on the outside, you start to realize that how you feel internally about financing opportunities. In a world that is governed by AI and technology, you can accidentally be comparing yourself to the visual outputs of individuals who you think have got it right. Not everybody's got it, right. They may have, they may have it right for their lives and their goals, they may not be right for you. So you end up with a large swath of the community going down the wrong path, because they believe that the external dream has to look a certain way. And because financial inclusion is still at a nascent point of being able to understand and recognize and believe that these are the certain factors and markers of when a group of individuals or a person has got it right. It's very difficult to have a through line that says this, this form of financial inclusion is absolutely working, you have to dig a lot deeper, which means that we have got to communicate differently, we've got to have different yardsticks for different groups of people, we might still be a long way off from having a high harmonized group of people where the the bottom line, the lowest common denominator is the same and everybody expects it to be the same. It's a very complicated to the situation. Of course, when you have things like this, there was lots of opportunity for product development, or for what you do so very well Jas, which is explaining it to people in very simple language. And that's something that I am looking forward to. But like I said at the beginning, what we knew in 2023, did not scream as loudly about the big beast in the room AI. And it certainly continued to miss the mark on culture and psychology in this nexus. And that's where I really want to push things in 2024. I've sort of answered this.

 

James Robert Lay: 

No, you did. And I want to stay on a couple of points here. I'm so glad a you brought up AI. B, you brought up the perspective of what we'll just call comparison culture. Yes, and how perhaps, algorithms because you mentioned the internal perspective versus the external how what I am perceiving and perceive perception is the sum of context and framing. How I'm perceiving might be the algorithm feeding me a certain perception which not might not necessarily be true for what I need at this moment in time. And therefore it creates a gap that creates friction that creates frustration that creates complexity. But to your point, when you have that, that also creates opportunity for product development for new ways of thinking, new ways of doing, and I guess that begs the deeper question, with this perspective of financial inclusion also now through the lens of AI and artificial intelligence. Why is this an important subject right now, maybe more than ever before, for financial brands, and more specifically, Community Financial brands to be thinking about?

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

I can tell you in very simple terms, one, what I'm worried about is digital poverty from being not included. And I think if I were to think about the clearest way to also talk about it is that we will go back down into a post colonial issue of the digital gap, the digital divide, those that are born now into digital inclusion by the very mere fact that their birth has been digitally recorded, and their lives will be tracked, impacted, monetize them, productized versus others. And I think about my late mother, for example, she had to birth certificates and you've got entire communities and cultures where they're approached Digital Inclusion needs a different treatment. But if we don't start to look at this from the responsible perspective of the fact that you've got groups, Africa, 1.2 billion people, Asia, and all of these other places, and then supposedly bad actors from regions where we hear a lot about cyber attacks, segmenting these groups out, or allowing them to co mingle, creates other situations, and even some challenges, problems and misunderstanding, mis categorization, further digital gaps, further digital poverty, poverty, and further this inclusion, so that if we look forward, let's say 2530 years, we'll probably still be talking about how do we drive financial inclusion, because we didn't get to pay attention to it at the dawn of it all. And we're probably already far down the road, at least from what I saw when operating in some of these markets.

 

James Robert Lay: 

That's a great point you're addressing here, the digital inclusion or the digital gap. You know, maybe perhaps there are two sides to this coin, there's the physical technology, you know, the access to the digital capability. But might there be another gap. And we'll just call it mindset, if you will. How we once again perceive the world, I've been thinking a lot about this, if you were born in 1994, your perception of the world is going to be different than if you were born, say after 1994. And now that also depends upon where you were born in the world. Culturally, even my wife is Lebanese. And so we have a very different view of just we'll call it a relationship with technology naturally, culturally. How much of that? That role that maybe that perspective of of mindset driven by cultural beliefs, cultural systems, could also play a part in either expanding or shrinking this digital divide?

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

And let's not even forget the impact of gender on that.

 

James Robert Lay: 

Yep, yep. Very true.

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

Yeah. Let's start with my own experiences, watching my mother with numerous notebooks in the evening doing her calculations and sums and how I peeked into those books where every once in awhile and saw nothing but the most bizarre streams of numbers and additions and subtractions. Of course, we're talking my 80s in the UK, and my mother did this even when we lived in Cameroon, of just sitting there in a place where no one is posting the prices of meat, vegetables or rice in the market. How is this woman collecting this information to decide what her budget ought to look like? And why is her budgeting style based on the most simplistic of mathematics, yet, it works. But fast forward, watching my mother tried to claw her way into financial inclusion, laced with fear and her own cultural bedrock, which for a lot of people, tells them how far they can or cannot go. And my mother often told us checkbooks lead to debt. I heard that most of my life, why did I not believe it is for the reasons that you said, James, when you are born in a different place, maybe your family and culture is geographically different from you and where you pull information from. Strangely enough, I was reading everything about the the, the masters of the captains of industry back in the day, IBM, Dell, digital, all of those old companies where black women weren't necessarily supposed to be drawing their inspiration from but because white male archetypes were told to me from a colonial perspective, that this is the height of where you need to aspire to, even though my education and what was being told to me was completely different. It was just the image of whiteness maleness, top of the pyramid chain that is aimed for that, but we can't give you too many tools for that just in case you get hurt along the way, or something of that nature. So when you have more people in the 90s now constantly breaking away from the parental moorings and the cultures that inform them on what to do with money, where you find money, what you and how to keep money, you start to get this beautiful splintering, which I think is also very important for diversity. It's the kickback it's the ping it's the return on what does and does not work. So my mother went from I do my son's to figure out how much things cost in the in the shops, to I better get a checkbook but I'm absolutely petrified and my mother did not have a credit card in her lifetime. She was 82 when she died last year. She had a debit card which she held with an iron grip of fear, and constantly telling us money is the root of all evil. And being very afraid of what will it look like to the outside world if there was a deeper investigation into how she or her family makes money and how they keep it. So you end up with secrecy. secrecy and privacy are such close neighbors, but they're not the same. Some ethnic groups don't know the difference. Both are it's taboo. We don't talk about it, right. But you want people to sell the appearance of success. Now we are in the in the 2024 era. And I look at young people today, and they don't seem to be so concerned with a certain type of external wealth. They seem to be concerned with acquiring experiences. throw that into the mix, James? And can you imagine what is going to happen with banking products, the assessment of wealth, identifying where wealth is when everything is so ephemeral? I don't think sometimes that we're ever going to get out the starting blocks, it seems to me we're going to have additional continual starting and restarting. As we reframe all of these beautiful subjects. It's interesting. That's where I'm coming from No,

 

James Robert Lay: 

No, and I appreciate your perspective, it really adds so much to this conversation. You mentioned experiences. So it's funny, just thinking about my own experience here. And my wife, we recently celebrated the holidays. And each each year, we have decreased the amount of gifts that we have gifted our children. And this year, we did something completely different. We said, You know what we're going to do, we're going to do what's called the 12 months of Christmas. And what we did is every month, we gifted the kids an experience, a family experience, something as simple as decorating cookies to camping in the backyard, to going out to Big Bend National Park and sleeping under the stars, just these in one experience every single month. Because it's just it's not stuff. It's the things that you can take forward with you for not just our kids, but that's going to create memories and reverberate down into their children. And I don't know, it's just a whole different way of looking at the world around us. And you're right, what's going to happen, you know? And I think the other thing too, I can't help but question how much something that was written about in a book written a night, I think it was 1997, called the fourth turning to where the author's looked at the history of time. And they found these at year cycles. And they're broken up to 20 years subblocks in an 80 years, essentially back to the point of your mother, that's that's a generation is in now, this book written in 1997, as we're entering into 2024, we're entering into what's called the fourth turning, which will be another 20 year cycle, which will then continuously repeat itself. It's something that I'm really recommending leaders lean into and learn about, because it's just the patterns of time. And it's almost the patterns of people. And it's one of the things what's like, Why does history continue to repeat itself? Well, we have to come back and look at the patterns. And if we want to break free from the patterns that we need to be very intentional with thought and action to create a new path forward, which I think what that's what you're doing with your thought, in one of the things you have, when it comes to this discussion. Is this is based on Maslow's five hierarchy of the pyramid of needs. We've, we've touched on a couple of these. And I want to break this down for those who are watching and listening these five different levels of this pyramid that you've shared with me. And they're broken up into three.

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

Yeah, I know it's a shameless plug. But I'm so impressed because I made this.

 

James Robert Lay: 

Yes, absolutely. No. And I think that's why this is thinking about this a long time. But that's the point. You've been thinking about this, and thought there are four steps that lead to human transformation. Step number one is you have to see things from a different perspective. And that's what hopefully this conversation is going to do is it's gonna help people to begin to see things from a different perspective, that will then lead to a transformation of thought and thought pattern. But then when I ask leaders and financial brand leaders well what happens when you see different you think different when you think different than what's the next logical step 90 99% Or say, Well, we're gonna do different we're gonna act if we're gonna be different. I'm like, No, you're not. You have to bridge the gap between thought and action with feeling and emotion. Because the desire the phone Why, yes, and the desire the feeling the emotion has to be greater than the desire, feeling emotion to stay the same back to your point, you have to find a strong, why a purpose what I'm writing about and baking on change, you have to care for the future and the see and care. It's an acronym, to see as you have to commit to a cause greater than yourself in the present moment. So let's come back to this because you've got ecosystem and security, you got inclusion and authority. And then finally, just like Maslow you've got, you got potential or purpose fulfilled. Let's come back to the baseline here, because a digital and physical ecosystem that supports innovation promotes access to opportunity, and designed to generate wealth. All foundations have to be strong. What does this mean to you here?

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

This means specifically, this, from a global perspective, feeling good about helping people who are poor, it's got nothing to do and should have nothing to do with giving them stuff. It's about the creation of opportunity, so that the strongest can create the pillars, no nation can be built on charitable giving, yet there is an engagement of charitable giving at this level that many people will gravitate towards, because of the way it makes you feel. And you will only see the first surface of what that money has done. So when you don't have security that is based on every citizen having a strong pillar for contributing to GDP, societal safety, and their own mental health, then you've got some very wonky pillars. And I know that's not a technical NBA term, but I don't know any other way emotionally to describe it, it just will not hold up. And now in this modern day, we're hoping expecting that even though people do not physically travel as much as they might have used, they would have done in the past, your digital journey puts the world in the palm of your hands, whether it's fire your phone, how you engage in business, what products and services you develop, what you send out, and the little pieces of you that are now scattered absolutely all over the universe digitally. How do you maintain control that and decide how much information is important and necessary at any point in time, so the system has to be in, I'm thinking of the word inter intuitive and even though I know it's not a real word, but the fact that we have AI, and the sentiment behind it, and the understanding of the directions that people take to stay safe, have to be able to support that because we're all looking for a roadway to take us from incredibly poor or wherever you are to where your hopes and dreams are able to furnish a life that is worth living, that creates no disturbances to other people, because where your happiness and somebody else's misery begins. So you need the ecosystems, security to operate on all of those pillars all at once. I

 

James Robert Lay: 

want to touch on something where you said where your happiness in someone else's misery begins. I know this is a deeper philosophical context here. But it's something that came up with a gentleman His name is David dibbles, he wrote a book called The Four new I'm sorry, the new agreements for the workplace, and to meet that, and I'll send you the podcast as a follow up to this. And just so you can hear it in his own words. But we're all interconnected in one way, shape, or form or fashion. And I guess what I'm hearing you talk to to this foundation. And maybe this is an over simplistic way of thinking about it, but we have to teach people how to fish instead of just giving them the fish is super simple, I know. But is that that's the empowerment here,

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

That what I'm saying because I have seen this in various parts of the world. And by the way, Lebanon is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. I was speaking there on an Islamic finance event. And even in the casual conversations with individuals, seeing how their group dynamic is such a powerful driver for how people approach success, which is very rarely just for themselves. There isn't the singular aggrandizement of achievement, that is often the hallmark of certain Western developed nations, where culture says you want to be an individual, you want to be recognized for your uniqueness, but you must also be part of the group and these three are so dissonant together without the connecting pieces that say for example, you have absolutely every right to meet all your hopes and dreams and be incredibly happy. But the icing on that cake is if you are also able to make all boats rise with the tide. That's powerful and that is digitally measurable. Yes. So we have gone from the lone charger running out seeking the shores of some distant land that you now say you found even though It wasn't missing, read between the lines to let me find out how to engage and figure out what is the general consensus for what's good for everyone? And how can I also be a recognized winner in how I contribute to that. And if you look at the top of the pyramid, we're all looking to be productive contributors to the world to make your claim that it was here. And finance money to separate things can definitely go a long way to do that. And it's an external form of measurement that other people say, oh, yeah, look, they've done very, very well look how much how much money they've made. But we also see with the younger generation, oh, look, how well they've done, how much time freedom they have, and how their experiences allow them to contribute to better products, better community, better criticism, and an intelligence that isn't just about booksmart, but can be related and transferred so that somebody else can use it appropriately.

 

James Robert Lay: 

The idea of value? Yeah, without it, I think at some point, it all comes down to value creation. And it's the idea to that a rising tide. Back to your point, it lifts all ships. And I've been thinking a lot about this. I forgot where I heard this, but someone had made a comment. There's a distinction between cooperation and collaboration. Yes, cooperation, the way that they define this was, you have to work well together. Yeah, cooperation is needed for collaboration. Collaboration, on the other hand, is you're co creating together. And I want to come back to the pyramid here, because you have this foundation, with this digital and physical ecosystem that supports innovation promotes access to opportunity is designed to generate wealth, great value, then you level that up, then you have security, data protection, cybersecurity, effective policy regulation across all sectors. Why is this the next level up once we have a strong foundation here.

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

We have political cycles that run through four year groups in the same way that you talked about these 20 year cycles. Without effective regulation, which is always at the mercy of innovation and the level of risks that people are willing to take in order to move forward. We don't have a way to keep things safe. We know that it takes a long time to get like very slow adopters to meet us in the middle when you are innovating. And we also know that banking regulation, at least in the United States can be as slow as molasses, and does not meet the appetite for wealth creation for those that have a vision that they are on the one hand, promoting at the speed of lightning through Instagram or wherever the case may be places that governments and regulation cannot see effectively. And I'll throw another little bit of ink in the milk well, and the little milk and inkwell, but with the same policy regulation issues that we have, we also know that the people being hired to roll out policy regulation are also misaligned from those who are at the pointy end of the spear for creating these products and opportunities. If we don't harmonize those and make these policies fit for purpose and future proofed, or at the very least agile enough to shift and change, we keep having these lags and misalignment is those lateral misalignments and the legs that back bad actors jump into. And their impact unfortunately tends to be way more boom, huge, big than those people trying to do. Well, effective policy regulation absolutely has to take a 360 degree review of what did history teachers, what is the larger group of individuals trying to do for the good of everybody else? How do we create a safe roadmap for them to continue on a sandbox type forward with some some breaks and some support? And how do we ensure that we have enough mistakes in the system to teach us safely, or to be able to turn them into learnings that are easily adopted by large groups of people? Again, that whole sandbox thing, but effective policy regulation should be what helps everybody to get to access the just the democracy of opportunity. Looks look, let's look at what's going on with diversity. There are lots of people, black people, especially myself that say, yeah, I really did like the idea of what was that stuff James when you had enough quotas for individuals getting into college, for example. And for a while, that was a good idea. Me personally today, it would be very difficult to have true competition in its healthy, healthiest format. But we end up having to have these kinds of policies because the beginning of that foundation For that inclusion wasn't really built with such a future in mind. And people need different things. When we thought that everybody wanted this sort of access to opportunity based on numbers, even those that were supposed to be the beneficiaries of that, some are saying that you know, what, I'm gonna compete at the highest, toughest level, because that's where the rewards are. And I want to be able to share those experiences and not be told that based on any of these non diverse markers, what you have to say, is not important, because it's very important. It's where the policy regulation gets the pin that says whether or not it worked.

 

James Robert Lay: 

Well, that's where there are four seasons, if you will, that lead to continued growth, there's a season for learning, there's a season for thinking, there's a season for doing an execution. And then there's a season for pausing, to break free from the doing to review what was done, to learn through that experience, and then think about how to do even better going forward. And I what I see with a lot of financial brand leaders, is they just get so busy in doing that they don't use the space and time to pause, to review to reflect, to learn to think about how to do even better through the next season or the next cycle of growth,

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

You know what's really interesting, James that I've never been able to put words to what we're talking about the way you have. And I'm absolutely living for this conversation. Because we always talk about especially in the toolbox, instead of comparing benchmarking and not having that you know, the term, I don't judge now, we all judge, but we should evaluate. And without that sort of evaluation, and that pause and that ping, we don't have an ability to recalibrate, and to record things in such a way that we've got learning modules that anybody should be able to access to get it right sooner. You shouldn't have to, in this day and age of digital access, be crawling around in any kind of dysfunctional darkness, because you're not sure which way to go. You can go any direction you want. But as long as the system the policy regulation is built in such a way that you're able to see whether or not you've got it right earlier rather than later, we can save a lot of time and money and the impact to entire industries, when people's mistakes are short, truncated short cycles, lots of learning long roadway to continue that I know people don't believe in the term failing forward, because it's not what it is. But without the experimentation and the testing, you don't have the lessons learned you might have a nice end result. But if you ask somebody break it down, and they can't reverse engineer it. No way. You can't pull the threads on it. You can't do what humanity requires for as strong, diverse ecosystem and very effective policy regulation. Well,

 

James Robert Lay: 

I've mentioned this many times on the podcast. So in the lay household, we have winners, and we have learners.

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

I love that. Can I steal it? Yes, absolutely.

 

James Robert Lay: 

Because here's the thing, I think there's such a because, you know, you talked about this idea of failing and failing forward, there's such a negative connotation tied up with failing if we just eliminate that idea. Like, we're just learn if you could take that in the mind transform whatever the negative experience was into a learning lesson. And really, truly, you know, take something from that and apply it forward. I think, you know, I've kind of joked in hindsight, and I'll probably speak more publicly on some of these, you know, within the coming weeks and months, just because that's how I am 2023 was a very expensive year of learning, there was a lot of tuition to get through 2023. Now, let's get to the other side, and apply those lessons to be even better. And I think that's where as we start to wrap up here, I want to move up to the top of the pyramid, the potential fulfilled, where we have productive contributors that are digitally included global citizens. What does this mean to you here?

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

Oh, wow. At the top of the pyramid are individuals who I have removed the first impediment to financial inclusion, which is the whole language. If you cannot speak to people in a way that reaches past just the words but to the meaning and the intent and the wholesale acceptance, not being on the same page, but acceptance of what somebody else is saying. You can't become a collaborator. You cannot be as digitally included as you would like. So that's the first bit next bit your education, whether it's delivered digitally or traditionally has a vocational element to it that teaches monetization of talent, and helps protect IP so that individuals have real ownership of what they produce, that can continue to create a coupon of financial returns, who way off into the future or be delivered in such a way that it's so shareable and it's immutable. Going beyond just that the having the digital birth certificate, having an education that works for you that's possible, is also the possibility of your health, your banking, and even your in your beliefs. Some groups of individuals want to be able to come forward and say, This is how my philosophies work, I'm looking for other people, I'm looking for my tribe, I'm looking for my, my group, this is where I choose to build value, or being able to know exactly what will happen to your digital assets after you have gone. So to be able to have an entire outlook of your life from the beginning to the end, and be very confident about what you're contributing to, to the soup, so to speak the entire world that I think is a life that is really, really worth living, and you can bequeath, you can teach, engage, be included, finance, and fund your experiences, save for your future, provide for others, whether they are near or far, and to be recognized and not be robbed of your humanity in the process. That's what that looks like to me.

 

James Robert Lay: 

I really appreciate that. And the idea that we can continue to create value long after our physical bodies have done it's time is a very, it's a very interesting idea. I think about

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

James, have you just invented digital immortality? Well,

 

James Robert Lay: 

I would pick it a lot about this because to a degree I baking on change was highly influenced by stoic thinking and being being able to read, you know, the works of like Marcus Aurelius. Well, you're able to read those works, but now through books in like his book meditation, for example, but then you add a whole new contextual layer on top of that, with voice with video, it's a very fascinating idea of how the value that we create in our little momentary blip of time, has the potential to continue to reverberate forward into the future. And to your point, you know, IP, and like the blockchain, how all of that is going to play into this larger context of a conversation. I would like to wrap up with a practical step, because we've hit some very important points in today's discussion. If you're a financial brand leader watching or listening, what is one thing that they can do next, to facilitate this dialogue in this discussion even more deeply this thinking within their own organization, so that they can continue to create value for people in the communities that they serve people who they might not, are even thinking about creating value now, because it's just a matter of perspective.

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

I think, start with your internal staff, when I was running a rumba on the African continent, specifically in Cameroon, Ivory Coast and a few other places, I had to D train my staff. And whenever we rolled out products and banks, the training of relationship managers had to be from the perspective of here's what you will no longer do. And that is a very fine line to thread between what banking policy and regulation says, and what can be done creatively market wise and for customers. So with banks, they need to be able to have an intrapreneurial department of those individuals who are from a diverse group working together to understand customers as people and not just Noughts and Crosses or, or anything of that nature, where it is just the customer. And this is what the revenue attached to this, let's get more share of wallet. So taking a human approach to finance, number one, number two, the other thing I think that banks can do is to continuously provide a form of digital townhall, where they are beginning to ask customers, what products do you want develop? We've got lessons for you here where you can get many bite sized teachings for how to become more global, how to run your business, and I know a lot of banks do that. But when I saw you on stage, James, and I saw the way in which you were able to take very difficult topics and break them down in a language that banks can understand. I'll give you an example. Most insurance companies have an excellent float that they do not use, especially in Central Africa to fund small and medium enterprises, and they would much rather pay the the slap on the wrist fee for not doing it. How do we get individuals to stop thinking about successes, the hoarding of money, versus the work that it's doing? How do we get individuals and banks to contribute to the different types of risk models that different groups need yet find a smart way to harmonize it at the end because you need a full picture, not just pieces of the picture. Again, this whole digital journey for the human race is going to be so important in making sure when we get to that top where potential is fulfilled, people are happy and can now teach others how to do the same almost as if it is embedded in their family, dynamic their upbringing,

 

James Robert Lay: 

All transformation starts within it starts with the self, then the team then the organization that transformation can spill over into the lives when we focus on human centered design that leads to human centered growth. Real this has been such a great conversation what is the best way for someone to connect with you to continue the dialogue we just we started here today

 

Viola Llewellyn: 

Viola dot Luellen at the tool, which is t u ll e naught T O L dash box.com. And I am not on X but you will find me on LinkedIn and our website which has been built and I will be taking a lot of the things that you said and putting it in there because it's been absolutely riveting talking to you and guess what we did not cover on another day I actually have some thoughts and opinions about accelerated genetic growth and the impact on human beings. As we make these choices with the physical meeting the digital, what's the API that connects us or separates us within that particular arena? Everything you say James is just so bloody invigorating, it's been a joy talking to you.

 

James Robert Lay: 

Thank you. It's been a pleasure as well as always, and until next time, be well, do good. Be the light

Brief Summary of Episode #368

Financial inclusion is not just a concept.

It's a pathway to reshaping how we view prosperity and community engagement.

But the financial industry still grapples with the complexities of truly achieving financial inclusion, particularly with the impact of AI and digital transformation, which has lead to a digital divide.

Viola Llewellyn, the founder and CEO of The Tulle Box, joined the show to share how embracing a future-focused mindset, leveraging technology and innovative approaches drive financial inclusion.

Viola shares insights from her personal experiences and cultural background, relating them to the psychology of money and consumer behavior changes. 

She introduces a 5-level pyramid framework for understanding financial inclusion and advises financial institutions on fostering inclusion through internal training, customer engagement, and innovative product development.

This shift is not just beneficial but essential for sustainable growth in today's digital era.

 

Key Insights and Takeaways

  • Digital poverty, cultural beliefs, and financial inclusion. (9:13)
  • Effective policy regulation for growth and inclusion. (27:04)
  • Digital transformation, human-centered design, and value creation in finance. (36:39)