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Innovation Teams Must Leverage Crowdsourcing & Social Media. Period.

The best way to foster innovation? Embracing social media of course! I’ve always been an advocate for leveraging the wisdom of the crowd and blogging about innovation in banking and insurance.

A few years ago, I used to work as Senior Innovation Manager at Lloyds TSB. Working in innovation in the banking industry is challenging to say the least. Last week I met a group of innovators from a couple of large UK banks and I could feel their frustration: day after day you experience the inertia, the unwillingness (or the unability) to partner with small and young, but highly innovative, companies.

But if working in innovation is tough, it is also tremendously exciting and rewarding. Indeed, the innovation team has a unique opportunity to change the way the bank is organized, the way the bank works, and the way the bank interacts with its customers. But in reality most innovations are incremental, very few are disruptive.

By experience, few innovation teams have a sizable budget or enough influence to pilot disruptive services in a live environment. And too often they sit in Group IT and focus too much on technology… whereas championing innovation presents very much an organizational challenge: after all, we all are (or should be) in innovation. The real task of the ‘Chief Innovation Officer’ and his team is to change their colleagues’ perception of innovation, convince them of the value of making time to share ideas and participate, and REWARD them for their contribution. At the same time, they have to win the support from the Senior Executives and convince the middle managers concerned with their own deadlines.

Your budget is limited, so you might as well make sure to find some creative, inexpensive, ways to communicate and promote your initiatives both internally and externally. Involve your colleagues and your market as much as possible at the idea generation and idea validation phases. And what’s the best way to do that? Embracing social media of course! I’ve always been an advocate for leveraging the wisdom of the crowd and blogging about innovation in banking and insurance.

I invite you to watch my youtube video on innovation labs in financial services with a focus on Citi’s ‘Innovation Loop’.

Companies mentioned
* US: Citi – ‘Innovation Loop‘, American Express – ‘Innovation Lab’, Fidelity – ‘Innovation Labs’, Wells Fargo – ‘Labs’ & ‘Retirement Labs’
* Denmark: Danske Bank – ‘Idebank
* Italy: Webank – ‘the Wepad project
* Spain: BBVA – ‘Planta 29’ and ‘Open Talent‘, Bankinter – ‘Bankinter Labs
* Sweden: Avanza Bank – ‘Innovation Labs’ I invite you to check my social media directory in financial services where you will find more links to innovation labs from the industry. As usual, feel free to flag any missing initiatives.

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