Fostering Innovation: How to Accelerate Corporate Growth
BRIGITTA GYOERFI, Innovation Strategist, Digital Transformation, Digital Product Design, Business Ventures, Fintech
Fostering Innovation: How to Accelerate Corporate Growth
In today’s rapidly evolving world of finance, innovation isn’t just an option—it’s a necessity. Financial service companies seeking to stay competitive and relevant are turning to better ways to accelerate their innovation capabilities. In this post, I’ll delve into how I conduct corporate innovation programmes and workshops and why they are crucial.
Why does a corporation usually want to do an innovation program?
The motivations behind corporate innovation programmes are multifaceted.
- Explore emerging market trends and technologies. Driving systematic innovation programmes can help companies anticipate emerging trends and technologies that can reshape entire industries. For instance, banks are exploring the use of blockchain to enhance security and transparency in transactions, while companies in the DeFi (Decentralised Finance) space are disrupting traditional banking by offering decentralised lending and borrowing platforms. Bridging the gap between traditional finance and decentralised finance is critical for any financial institution.
- Accelerate Internal Transformation: Established financial institutions often struggle with internal transformation. They can leverage innovation programmes to adopt customer-centricity and agile methods often employed by startups. Gaining practical experience in a safe environment helps employees apply the skills needed to run disciplined experiments or engage in co-creation sessions across company silos to improve the employee and customer experience.
- Drive top-line growth: financial corporations have aspirations for top-line growth. Innovation programmes can spark ideas for new financial products and services, tapping into the changing needs of the market. For instance, using blockchain technology to tokenize illiquid asset classes like real estate and make them available to a broader investor base can drive growth by catering to tech-savvy clients seeking alternative investment solutions.
- Streamline operations and cut costs; efficiency is crucial in the financial sector. Through structured workshops, corporations can identify ways to streamline operations and reduce costs. For instance, the automation of various fund management processes using blockchain technology, such as smart contracts, can reduce the need for intermediaries and significantly decrease administrative costs.
- Connect with evolving customer needs: customers in the financial sector, including the next generation of clients and underserved communities, have changing needs. Innovation programmes can help companies create personalised offerings that cater to these evolving demands. As an example, banks are looking to empower women investors through personalised financial services with a strong focus on impact investing, aligning their investments with causes they care about rather than focusing on traditional financial products.
What is involved in the innovation programme, and who leads it?
Corporate innovation programmes are meticulously structured and facilitated by seasoned professionals. These programmes typically include:
- Exploration sessions: mapping out the core capabilities of the organisation and identifying valuable new market opportunities that leverage these core capabilities, ultimately driving the venture’s growth and success.
- Ideation Sessions: multidisciplinary participants, subject matter experts, and potential end users engage in brainstorming exercises to explore novel ideas and approaches relevant to the corporate challenge at hand.
- Prototyping and Validation: Participants develop prototypes or concepts, which are then tested and rapidly validated to ensure their viability.
- Actionable Roadmaps: By the programme’s conclusion, corporations possess actionable strategies and roadmaps for implementing innovative solutions.
- Startup collaboration: build or buy decisions are taken, and potential partners are brought into the innovation journey to accelerate delivery.
What does the corporation need to have in place so the innovation programme is effective?
For a programme to be effective, corporations should create an enabling environment and engage with seasoned professionals who can help manage resistance and facilitate change in the following areas:
- Clearly defined objectives: companies should have a precise understanding of what they aim to achieve through innovation; this might include an innovation thesis or defined challenge areas that they want to solve.
- Resource allocation: allocate the necessary resources, including time, personnel, and budget.
- Open-minded culture: cultivate a corporate culture that encourages creativity, experimentation, and a willingness to embrace change.
What’s an example of a successful corporate innovation program?
I have recently collaborated with a leading wealth management company seeking to enhance its sustainability initiatives. Through an innovation programme, they explored different ways to gain transparent and traceable sustainability data to calculate the footprint of their portfolios and help client advisors identify new investment opportunities based on their clients’ sustainability goals. As a result, the corporation not only reduced its environmental footprint but also gained a competitive edge by appealing to environmentally conscious consumers.
Why is it important for women to be part of the innovation journey at each company in the financial services industry?
Including women in the innovation journey is vital for diversity and inclusion. The financial services industry benefits from a wide range of perspectives, ideas, and talents. Women’s participation brings unique insights, fosters creativity, and ensures that solutions address the diverse needs of customers and stakeholders, ultimately driving success and innovation in the sector. It’s not just about diversity; it’s about delivering more inclusive, effective, and sustainable innovations in the financial world.
In conclusion, innovation programmes are essential for financial sector corporations looking to thrive in a rapidly changing landscape. By exploring emerging technologies, accelerating transformation, achieving growth, optimising operations, and meeting evolving customer needs, these workshops empower financial institutions to secure their positions as leaders in the industry.