Today, I attended Finextra's Forum for Innovation in Financial Services.
It was Finextra first event dedicated to Innovation: the speakers were excellent, their presentation were insightful, useful and entertaining, and the event was well attended (with over 35 people).
Congratulations to the Finextra team: Paul Penrose, Elton Cane and Daniel Charlwood just to name a few.
Finextra gathered 4 top speakers today:
* James Gardner, Head of Innovation and Research, Group IT, Lloyds TSB
* Frios Manolas, Director, Global Business Technology Strategic Projects, Merrill Lynch Europe
* Pol Navarro, Head of Innovation, Banco Sabadell
* Neil Hudspeth, Director of Product Management, Metastorm
I was very much looking forward to James and Pol presentations.
Attending the conference was a good way to meet with Pol face-to-face (at last) and catch up with James. I first got in touch with both of them a few months ago thanks to Visible-Banking.com.
James and Pol are two passionate and extremely knowledgeable Innovation experts. They are well-known in the banking industry: they both enjoy an excellent online visibility with profiles on Linkedin, Facebook, video interviews and blogs, and they are both on the international speaker circuit.
The Innovators Forum on BankerVision
If you are not already aware of the Innovators Forum, a joint effort from James & Pol, I invite you to check James's coverage of the first Innovators Forum, and check his blog BankerVision on regular basis for updates.
"Pol Navaro had the idea of building up an Innovator's Forum, in the form of a quarterly conference call between banks with innovation programmes (or at least, an interest in innovation). We're going to be discussing the process of innovation, how it has helped institutions move up the curve, and the challenges and issues we've all faced."
Key remarks from James Gardner
* At Lloyds TSB, Innovation is anything which is not Business As Usual.
* Innovation is risky, yes but it can be managed as any other investment portfolios. And bankers are experts in risk management.
* Innovation is predictable. It is important to predict & measure Innovation.
* The three key questions you have to ask: Does it make sens/Should we do it? Can we do it? When can we do it?
* "Drowning the puppy"TM asap is critical: you need to be able to get rid of "bad" ideas as quickly as possible.
* Incremental Innovation pays the bills, not ground breaking Innovation: whereas you will be lucky if you have one "mega-hit" in a lifetime, small improvements are easier to implement and they are here to stay and benefit the bank.
Key remarks from Pol Navarro
* It is important to manage Innovation as a formal process.
* It is critical to remove singularity and avoid "inspirational" innovation.
* The Innovation team needs to create a network of contacts within the bank to identify opportunities and sponsors.
* A good way to urge your employee to suggest ideas is by rewarding them. Sabadell initiated an internal award program for the best ideas of the year.
* Banco Sabadell is extremely active in web 2.0: back in June 07, they joined forces with IBM to develop Web 2.0 technologies for the financial sector. For more information, I invite you to check Banco Sabadell Labs.
Please note that Banco Sabadell has been shortlisted in the "Best Direct Channels Initiative – Mobile Phone" category at the Financial Innovation Awards (21st November 2007 in London).