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IBM joins Think Forward Initiative

Shoes, concert tickets, electronics… These are only a few of the increasing number of things we buy online.
Posted on November 27, 2019

Our worldwide consumption of online goods has increased to 1.9 trillion in 2016 and is expected to grow to USD 4 trillion in 2021. As companies figure out how to digitally entice us with their latest products – fueled by powerful analytics that improve products’ discovery and their attractiveness – it is increasingly tempting to spend too much money online.

As most of us know, these purchases do not always serve our long-term interests. If we are not careful, we unnecessarily duplicate products that stock our shelves and wardrobes, and slow down our future saving goals with expensive interest rate charges as a result.

About 42% of all EU households, approximately 215 million people, are not financially empowered and have difficulty to make ends meet. The level of income is not the only reason why people might feel squeezed each month. Equally important are the small decisions that people make in their daily lives about how they spend their money. Although small, these decisions have a big impact on their financial well-being. It is difficult for them to invest in their individual and family’s future. The Think Forward Initiative (TFI), with the help of its partners, aims to solve this.

We’re pleased to announce that IBM is now supporting the Think Forward Initiative (TFI), extending our network of supporting partners, including Deloitte, Amazon Web Services, Dell Technologies, Centre for Economic Policy Research and ING. With this additional support we’ll be closer to achieving our mission of empowering 100 million people to make better financial decisions.

Together with the Delft University of Technology and its US-based IBM T.J. Watson Research Center IBM brings research and innovation expertise to the table. As well as specific technology capabilities, including AI, data science, open banking and design. These additional capabilities will allow TFI to extend its reach and impact to the people who need it most.

“We’re very happy to join the initiative. While exploring the collaboration with TFI we recognised the business alignment and realised just how similar our purpose is. It is in our DNA to contribute to building a more inclusive, resilient society. Our path to better financial security is through skills-building and education for what we call “new-collar jobs”. We believe these initiatives are highly complementary to Think Forward Initiative’s focus on consumer behaviour and decision-making”, Benjamin Timmermans, IBM Center for Advanced Studies Benelux.

“Having IBM join the Think Forward Initiative strengthens our ability to make research based innovations that matter to the world. We are really excited about the future and impact this partnership will bring. We welcome and encourage more partners, like IBM to join our initiative and work together to make a financially health society,” said Dagmar Van Der Plas, Think Forward Initiative Lead.