PSBank Ideas Innovation Lab Social Business
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PSBank Fosters Innovation Via Internal Idea Bank Portal [Social Business]

In his sixth guest article on Visible Banking, Daniel Gusev – (newly former) Head of Innovation at PSBank – talks us through the Russian bank’s launch of its internal social business platform aiming to capture and develop innovative ideas from its staff.

On 4th February 2012, we turned 5 on that date, I announced the launch of the ‘Visible Banking Stars‘ programme as well as the total redesign of

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I am delighted to publish another insightful article from my friend Daniel Gusev – Founder at FinFit. In this article, Daniel sheds some light on PSBank’s recent launch of its internal innovation lab.


Social services: how they ought to be implemented from PSBank experience
This summer I’ve moved on from heading the Innovation Hub, a specialist design-driven team inside Russian PSBank, created more than a year ago to a great success, to lead a startup by the name of FinFit – a despite the crazy days of fostering this new child, I still remember several projects I curated – and each marketing event by the Bank asks for a speech on how did we manage to achieve such clarity of view.

I would like to kindly use Christophe Langlois’s Visible Banking to talk about two projects that, now public, exemplifies my deep belief system in everything social and how social should be part of a bank’s internal and external offerings.

PSBank’s internal idea management portal
Ideas are key to everything, contrary to present belief that they are just fuel for a machine to be built. Ideas give you not just data (what is to be built), but, most importantly, attitude – that defines best people for the job.  Hence, idea management is not only fueling station for a business, it is a demanding social exercise to select the best team to bring on the fire.

Hence, Idea management systems should not just capture the ideas, they should make other people engage with the idea, despite knowing it was submitted by others, improve and build on top of the idea, help forming a team around an initiative. All this must be seen by a team that should form a discussion around the idea, not just sit and respond based on whether the submission was a question.

Best idea management platforms enable you to work with idea-people, not ideas from people, form teams around ideas, make them compete for the best idea to win – the rest are usually cast down to become nothing more than forums. Understanding that, the bank has selected one of the best social platforms it could uncover – Spigit – to build a site called “Idea Jar” (“jar” synonymical with “bank”) using S platform. What became the single factor in S favor was its advanced gamification scenario, that just pulled a user into casting his own ideas and improving ideas of others – nothing else is more critical as a mechanism to turn our rational profit seeking into a virtual platform playful experience. That alone was responsible for people giving over 1000 ideas in one 3-hour stretched jam session to test S settings.

Apart from technical capabilities and the engagement it created, human touch is everything to a platform long-term survival, and it lies on the shoulders of bank’s community managers – who are responsible to drive people interest and explain the rules of the game – which pretty much it is. Thousands ideas thrown into the system head-on after the launch is good – but people start to wonder on their idea future – demanding for some banks teams of dozens curators. The settings we designed in advance allowed each idea to check against certain ceilings (views, comments, votes) to access each idea individual maturity and importance. Upon reaching the ceilings – the system triggered a notification to a team responsible to monitor idea generation and see whether the idea can be moved to the next phase – “validation”.

Here a subset of ideas that went through the filter – were accessed against a range of simple questions (again, pointing away from complex validation models that kill most idea management initiatives), after which the idea went to expert approval. At the approval phase it is important to have the right motivation of those making it – the best scenario is to have the experts being motivated from the effect of the idea portfolio, which was PSBank goal – hence experts would view all ideas with open eyes and be even motivated to participate in idea improvement.

From what the Bank had before the system went into place, our idea management approach has improved idea collection by a factor of 10 and allowed new clever ideas now implemented across a range of bank’s businesses. Wish this to continue in the future.

This idea management platform is accessible at


Social media is much more than PR/Brand and facebook or twitter.  As a matter of fact, three key distinct areas of social will benefit your financial institution: social customer, social media and social business.

What do you think of the long-term value of such internal ideabank platforms?  Shouldn’t they all be totally open and aiming to drive crowdsourcing and co-creation?

Join the conversation here or on our Facebook page.

What do you think?

Written by Daniel Gusev

Innovation Mgr in respect of remote channels strategy & emerging payments platforms. Honed knowledge & skills on mobile & proximity payments payments schemes, offering advice on traditional (ATM, Internet) & new ways of offering transaction services to top-10 banks in Russia.

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