Monday, September 14, 2009

The need to innovate

Guest blogger, Gareth Lodge of TowerGroup, says the financial industry appears to be turning a corner and that innovation or the art of doing things differently will be key to recovery.
It's true, SIBOS is here — two parties already and a looming happy hour are testament to that! But as I sit waiting for the opening plenary session to begin, I reflect on the year that has passed. I suspect many in the industry wondered at least once in the last year whether they or even the industry would survive. It has certainly changed the focus of the banks since that point.

When I first saw the agenda for Sibos, I was slightly surprised to see the Innotribe track. I should say, that having previously worked at an innovations consultancy, that I believe in both innovation and its benefits. But innovation has certainly suffered in the last year, as budgets are frozen or cut across the bank, making its inclusion on the agenda a bold move. 

There is a general feeling over the past few months and certainly heard in the conversations I've had today, that we're turning a corner. Banks are planning for 2010, for at least a form of business as usual. That's why innovation is important. Innovation is synonymous with cutting-edge technology. 

In reality, innovation can be considered to be the art of doing something differently. Technology may play a part but isn't the answer. Technology without an application is just technology. Why do I raise this point? Because the world has changed. Don't banks therefore need to change as a result? If clients' demands have changed, banks need to respond. Now more than ever is the time that banks need to innovate. What is needed is a much a cultural change as any other kind of change. 

Innovation begins in the thinking and approach of an individual, not in a piece of technology. The key objective has to become how to deliver value to the customer. Innovation for innovations sake is a luxury. Retaining customers is essential for survival of the firm or institution. I encourage you all to attend the Innotribe stream today. To respond to the world tomorrow, you need to start today.

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