I just finished reading the story of Mohammad Yunus and Grameen Bank in the book titled Banker to the Poor: The Story of the Grameen Bank. It is amazing how he threw out many of the standard policies and practices that traditional banks implemented and invented new ones to meet the needs for the poor. Here are some examples
- Eliminated filling out lengthy/multiple forms since the poor did not know how to read and write.
- Abolished collateral since the poor did not have any.
- Encouraged office workers/bankers to be out on the field to meet clients instead of them coming in.
- Made loan repayments weekly instead of one large payment at the end because it was very difficult for them to save up a large money
- Gave out small loans and worked with the customer to repay them
- Gave loans to mostly women ( in Bangladesh it seems most loans were made out to me ), because they had higher rate of repayment
The list goes on. But what was impressive if his ability to question the status quo and the traditionally established processes. Expanding this to software markets, sometimes it is is very beneficial to question the current process in existing markets or understand which other possible customer population has been prevented from using the solution. If it looks like there is a new way to doing things it is worthwhile putting thought into doing it.