Co-operative Inquiry


One of our financial services clients in Cambodia called on our help to explore the full gamut of lending products.


The issue the client faced was that many of these products were entirely unknown in the local market and hence high levels of explanation and interaction were required.


In what became Indochina’s first co-operative inquiry project, riverorchid insight pioneered the use of this novel, inclusive methodology to respond to the brief.
Co-operative inquiry breaks down the “them and us” barriers between respondents and researcher, enlisting a group of people as co-researchers. The objectives of the project are explained in full at kick off stage, and co-researchers are then invited to working sessions in which various products and possible variations on those are explored and discussed. In this case everything from home loans, to equity loans,  small business finance,  personal loans, vehicle loans and overdrafts were discussed.


Once product ideas had been refined with co-researcher input, a series of live role plays were conducted, within the client’s premises, and involving both co-researchers as well as bank staff. Via this second stage both ‘applicants’ and ‘assessors’ of applications assessed the clarity and utility of the products.

Feedback from the role plays was then collated in plenary sessions and complied into a final report with a full set of recommendations. What resulted was a uniquely insightful set of findings and recommendations, developed and crafted quite literally by co-researchers themselves. This study became the  basis of our clients plans for their lending products for the next three years, during which time home loans, personal loans, equity loans and salary advance products were all successfully launched.