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New Lending Conditions in Canada

Mortgage Market Trend Analysis 





Northwood Mortgage / Toronto / June –August 2018

Ask: How do we educate and excite the market on investment opportunities?

Generated stakeholder analysis and applied strengths in communication to develop an education strategy for new market investment opportunities. Researched and mapped emerging market conditions to illustrate a future-forward, systemically minded, client-centered presentation that landed new investments. 

¨     Market industry research, synthesis and, communication 


Strategy education deck


Jenny Whyte 


How do we make our online mortgage application user-friendly?


The mortgage industry is in disruption.

Federal regulations responsible for dictating big bank lending guidelines has placed many potential borrowers in a precarious place. Big bank borrower rejection rates have gone up as much as 20% since the OSFI guidelines came into effect in January 2018. 


New minimum qualifying guidelines have been added to 'stress test' the borrower for 2% more than the contract rate. An indication interest rates will rise; the new rules create maximum purchase limitations, by increasing the overall monthly income required to afford a dream home. In these conditions, borrowers face on average a 20 to 30% reduction in their overall purchasing power.

Qualifying guidelines have also increased the requirements borrowers face for income verification. This demand for particular types of securities and stabilities in employment leaves emerging workforce trends at odds with the traditional mortgage lenders new reality.


Here is the shake, the tremble and the gap. 


The make up of first time buyers and mortgage seekers in 2018 reflects trends observed in the fabric of society. Demographically many are millennials, self-employed, tech savvy, no-nonsense, want-it-alls, looking for alternative which will work with AND for them. They value experience over loyalties and want what they want. 


Disruption is a displacement of an existing market with something new, with something that takes a more strategic approach to the markets needs. The rise of public and private mortgage companies have observed a gap and have filled an opening. 


This blog is an exploration of the new lending environment. What are the implications? What are the possibilities? Who are the players making a difference? Why is this of consequence?


As we dream of white picket fences, full homes and full hearts, we've got a lot to learn. Join me in this exploration of Alternative Consumer Mortgage Lending as we consider a system ripe and hungry for innovative change.

The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet. - William Gibson


Examining the environment for trends indicative of the future, is not an art, but rather a strategic choice. Knowing what is coming down the pipeline helps us plan for, and determine how to inch towards something more preferred in the present and adaptable for the future.


Tapping into the edges we unearth the distribution of the now and become future conscious. Trends act as data points, a filter for an emerging future which indicates spaces of unrest and opportunity to build from.


As we examining the context of New Lending, edges will be an explored. The trends which influence this systems; the people, the policies, the society, the technology, emerge as key drivers of strategy which will set New Lending innovators apart. 


Current indications of changing demographics, shifting value sets, emergent business models, technological systems and political intervention will be used to guide a trend watch for the strategically minded. 





Empathy mapping, Industry guideline research, consumer market research, prototyping, branding, and design principles,  collaboration, pitching








1. Personal Experience


Having experienced a design education program which aims to teach design thinking and many tools for collaborative thinking, there was time for deep reflection on the experience of collaboration at multiple scales. While the tools and methodologies known for collaborative research investigations and stakeholder engagement are plentiful, the tools needed to facilitate creative collaboration and conflict mediation at the level of a project team dynamic is itself, presented an opportunity space.


2. Literature and Case Study Review 

Potential issues and layers of influence in small group dynamics are assessed by examining organizational behavior case studies and literature review. Numerous theories for best collaborative practices are considered as the foundation theory for tool development. Google's Project Aristotle analysis, Tuckman's Group Development Theory and intentional learning educational philosophy formed the foundation structure of the tools development. 

3. Student Survey

Primary research with student groups engaged in collaborative processes was collected through surveys and one-to-one interviews. Pain points were extracted in order to begin to clearly see the issues that arise in real group dynamics.

4. Prototyping 

The research insights culminated with 5 key conditions for a tool structure which enabled effective group dynamics: versatility, facilitates communication, collaborative, addresses invisible culture, considers self and others. A process of prototyping and iterative learning created a small group collaboration tool, “Sum of Its Parts.”

5. Prototype Testing 

A prototype workshop was developed to test the tool in real group dynamics with students in the SFI program. The tool enabled a holistic structure of intentional inquiry and facilitated versatile conversations aimed to get to the roots of group dynamics issues.





"The hardest part of working in groups is getting to know everyone boundaries and expectations; managing the different learning and working styles; understanding my own feelings, then having the capacity to explain that to others." 

- Survey Participants  



The research conducted led to insights which in turn developed 5 design goals to orient product creation. 


1. Facilitates communication  

Generates an information flow between group members to create an opportunity for assertiveness in individuals, but also makes space for others to listen and cooperate. 

Existing communication structures such as non-violent communication and compassionate inquiry, which guide communication and consensuality were extensively considered to guide inspiration for the design of the tool. The use of questions to provoke and inspire was illuminated as a mechanism to guide challenging conversations within interpersonal dynamics. 


2. Collaborative


Encourages groups to work together to address issues and generate opportunity for consensuality.

Individuals can have vastly different opinions, needs, working styles, values, and feeling states that can vary wildly depending on context. The organizing process of a team culture is founded in the deeper layers and can take time, trust, and willingness to understand and be interested in the individuals within the team and what they need in a team culture.


3. Addresses invisible culture  


Considers individual positions on feelings, beliefs, norms, values and additional aspects of culture which may not traditionally be considered as necessary, but come to impact small group dynamics.

While not always relevant to how well a group or an individual might perform, the ripple effects the norms or expectations created by an organizations culture creates is a very important point of influence. The tool must create what leading organizational behaviorist Richard Hackman calls ‘enabling conditions.’ 


4. Considers self and others


Creates a structure for individual paradigms to be considered and reflected to the group, in order for subjective viewpoints to be illuminated and clarified.

After studying hundreds of the teams operating offices of Google, Project Aristotle found that the teams that had the highest success where teams that, as a whole, had a high degree of communication and a high expression of emotional intelligence, which in turn created a sense of psychological safety for all members of the group.


5. Versatile


Can be adapted for use in any part of the group development process to build a more nuanced collective understanding of all members’ positions.  

The pain-points noted in the survey related to skill development needed for effective group collaboration as well as personal struggle. There is a sense of ‘not knowing’ or ‘trying to figure things out’ both personally and collectively which presents as a source of stress for students. The tool must help cut through this sense of unknowing at any stage. 



A process of define, design, refine, distilled research insights and culminates with the creation of a small group collaboration tool, “Sum of Its Parts.” The tool enables a holistic structure of intentional inquiry and facilitates versatile conversations aimed to get to the roots of group dynamic issues.

Those who tested the tool all expressed positive feedback for its usefulness. Its design intention to facilitate intentional conversation was made a reality. It did not just provide space and time for personal reflection and inquiry, but also the opportunity to bounce those insights off of each other helped to achieve clarity about what was occurring with the group dynamics.


The structures of communication helped to address an understanding of both personal and collective needs, as well as group systems and behavior. In illuminating and aggregating these insights, the concepts and learnings found in the multiple interpretations between people are made visible to aid in the process of group sensemaking. The shared space for conscious reflection helps groups to navigate self-organization in ways that moved collaborative organizational learning from incidental to intentional, all the while building resilience and strength.





Graphic Design: Britney Mackey

Communication and collaboration are complicated processes which are dependent on a variety of factors, points of influence and conditions. “Sum of Its Parts” is a holistic framework of inquiry which fills an opportunity space for facilitated and co-created collaborative self-organization techniques. Through the use of a deliberate structure, principles of engagement and flexible goal orientation, intentional conversations between groups are facilitated with ease.

Want to know more about this project? 

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