This was my first design.
Rich Soil Bank. The concept was a retail bank that operated on the basis of functions instead of rights. The design framework was biomimicry. Could a bank operate on the cellular level that life does? 2011 – 2014.
I got a few things right and a lot of things I didn’t.
And that’s okay. What I learned from this personal project was project management. That as a designer you have to consider business model and engineering constraints.
AT A GLANCE: THE BANKING
Rich Soil Bank is a full reserve interest free bank. Additionally Rich Soil Bank is a biomimetic bank, biomimetic meaning the bank operates on the basis of functions (to make loans) rather than that of rights (to make money).
In regards to Rich Soil Bank biomimicry is applicable in the specific framework of metabolic processes, energy conversion and entropy both as a single organism or entity (bodymass) and the larger ecological system in which it operates, our collective banking system (a biomass).
AT A GLANCE: DIFFERENTATION
1. Bank Operations- Choice
At Rich Soil Bank customers are given a choice. The bank can only invest or use deposits customers wish to be invested and have given the bank permission to use. In short, Rich Soil is required to keep safe the money customers wish to keep safe and only invest monies the customer wishes to be invested.
2. Bank Operations- Savings and Loans
Customers forgo interest on their savings to provide no interest loans to other customers and when needed, the system reciprocates; the customer can receive an interest free loan.
When the principle has been fully repaid not only is the customer free of debt but he or she has also accrued savings; savings he or she otherwise would have allocated to interest.
3. Open Information- Transparency
Rich Soil keeps customers appraised of what the bank is doing in (human) readable terms using multimedia platforms. For example, who Rich Soil’s investors are, who their banking holding company is (and what a BHC is) and why they need one.
4. The Economics- Transaction functions are separate from lending activities.
As transaction functions are separate from lending activities (under a full reserve banking model) the effective money supply is less affected by the lending activities of the bank. By working within the larger framework or retail banking system that we have (interest bearing, fractional reserve) Rich Soil not only helps slow the supply of money how much there is but the velocity of it how fast it circulates making the economy less pro-cyclical and inflationary.
How it works- Gamification
Example- Saving and Loan/ point system.
AT A GLANCE: THE BIOMIMETICS (single organism)
Biomimicry (from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate) is a new discipline that studies and imitates nature’s best ideas to solve complex human problems.
Biomimicry is applicable to Rich Soil Bank in the specific framework of metabolic processes; energy conversion and entropy both as a single organism or entity (bodymass) and the larger ecological system in which it operates, our collective banking system (biomass).
4. Satiety: At Rich Soil there’s built-in satiation.
In nature we call this the negative feedback loop. Like the sensor in your stomach that says “I’m full, pass the bread” Rich Soil does this as well:
After expenses have been paid all proceeds are internalized and passed on to the beneficiaries in the form of lower fees, better services and greater accessibility.
Why is satiation important? Satiation helps maintain homeostasis, a state of balance inside the body and between the body and the rest of the natural world.
What happens without it? The body invites disease. You see this in the banking industry as malignant cells (overgrowth/ cancer) and monoculture banking practices.
5. Energy Conversion metabolic processes: At Rich Soil customers pay the cost or entropy they represent to the bank and are willing to pay. For example, loan fees:
Every loan generates a loan fee. Similar to a effective interest rate the loan fee is a charge to cover costs with respect to loan services provided.
Why is it important? Metabolic processes maintain life.
Nothing happens in the world without energy conversion. It’s a fundamental law of nature. It’s what allows organisms to grow and reproduce, prevent stagnation maintain their structure and respond to their environment.
In banking it works the same way: It takes income to grow and reproduce, prevent stagnation maintain current structure and respond to the environment.
What happens without energy conversion metabolic processes? Simple. No numbers. No life.
It’s why banking we ask know your numbers?