As we find ourselves operating in a new normal, it's great to see event companies become more innovative. I attended the FinTech Talents Virtual Conference last week, and was impressed! 

One of the panel discussions I attended was around whether incumbent banks could innovate, an interesting topic in today's climate. 

Rita Martins, Digital Transformation Manager at HSBC, stated that were five key areas incumbents must consider when leading internal innovation projects; 

  1. Sponsorship - ensuring you have sponsorship from the right internal teams and individuals will make introducing a new innovative project much easier
  2. Budget  - making sure you have the budget to run appropriate trials before embarking on a new project
  3. Operating - sandbox environments and testing are essential before rolling it out to a large organisation
  4. Mixed Teams - invite colleagues from technology, finance, legal etc. to ensure you have the right balance and collaborate
  5. Problems FIRST - one of the key points in my opinion was ensuring you were identifying problems before looking for or building a solution!

Alex Bannister, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Nationwide echoed Rita's sentiments by stating that when innovating you must ensure you build something that is necessary - either internally or for the customer. You must be a realist, and ensure the team you innovate with has faith in your project, is agile and willing to take risks. 

A strong team seemed to be a key theme from all those involved in the panel. Elliott Limb, Chief Customer Officer at Mambu, took this one step further by stating that not only did you need an agile internal team - you need the entire ecosystem to have the same strategy. If the ecosystem doesn't change it is near enough impossible for the incumbents to be able too. 

Although the incumbents are better placed to lead this change in regards to their reputation, they have to change fundamentally to be able to do so. They must be willing to take risks and make innovation a core part of their culture. He also mentioned that ABN Amro seem to be the speedboats for the sector and we could all learn from them, which is definitely my experience as they were one of the first clients of CC Dr@ft our document automation platform. Further evidence that they are indeed leading the way for incumbents! 

I look forward to following the development within the incumbents and whether they choose to lead the way by fundamentally changing their culture to allow innovation to strive!