This is how to make innovation happen in your business. Actually happen.

Article taken from The Bank is Dead. Long Live Banking.

By Matt Robinson, MD, AnalogFolk Australia

Fintech is disrupting the financial services industry on a scale not seen before. It’s growing by the minute and evolving constantly. Businesses must do or die. So, what exactly are you going to do?

Simple, you’re going to innovate. All you need to do is select the perfect innovation from myriad options; track down the ground-breaking but solid and lasting idea that will transform both your business and your relationship with your customers, and see significant long-term growth as a result. No pressure, then.

Feeling overwhelmed? That’s natural. The challenge doesn’t end with identifying a route; you then have to cut through the bureaucracy to realise your vision.

Making innovation happen is core to our approach at AnalogFolk. Here are some frequent barriers our clients meet and some of the ways we’ve helped them.

‘WE WANT TO INNOVATE, BUT WE HAVE NO IDEA WHERE TO START’

This is common. Really common. And who could blame you? If the sheer volume of innovation means you can’t hear what’s right for you, here are four ways we help businesses cut through it and get going.

Reframe the problem

If you’re going round in circles, trying to solve a challenge, you can reset your collective minds by reframing the problem. Pose it from another perspective; try your customer’s experience or needs. This action can take you from the seemingly unreachable to a surprisingly simple solution.

In its quest to be a leader in customer service, CommBank in Australia reframed ‘How does digital impact our customer service?’ as: ‘How could digital create new service experiences?’ Sainsbury’s, meanwhile, had the challenge of how to fill a revenue gap. It needed every customer to spend £1.14 every time they visited. It switched its thinking to focus on the customer and the resulting campaign, which suggested simple meal ideas to encourage them to try new things, generated £550 million in sales over two years.

Hold a problem pitch

When it comes to fintech, your business is likely to be facing several challenges and many possible solutions. So it helps to get a range of minds on the job. We’re all familiar with the ideas pitch, but one of the most effective ways of identifying and prioritising difficulties is via the ‘problem pitch’. Invite team members from as many relevant areas as possible, sending them a challenge ahead of the session. It could be around specific tech tools you’d like to explore using, or a question about the role tech should play in improving customer experience.

Ask them to individually prepare a 60-second pitch that should include then problem, who’s suffering because of it, and why it’s important. Don’t talk about the solution yet, just focus on painting a picture of the problem. When everyone has presented, you can all vote on the most important problem to solve.

As well as discovering ways of helping your business take another step forwards, the result of sessions like this will be more energy behind the concept of innovation. You might also gain important insights into how your colleagues really feel about the subject.

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Get journey mapping

How can you decide which fintech innovation will best mesh with your customer’s lifestyle?

There’s a simple way to find out. You need to put on their shoes and walk through the sales/service process, recording every touchpoint, decision you make and emotion you feel throughout the process.

Once you’ve documented this, you’ll easily be able to identify some of the major barriers and opportunities at which to aim your innovation.

Use the Looking Glass

At AnalogFolk, we have a tool we call the Looking Glass. This is a simple framework that helps us explore a client’s problem from different angles by looking at it through six lenses:

Consumer (attitudes; interests)

Competitor (strengths; weaknesses)

Company (values; history; messages)

Culture (trends; politics)

Catalyst (technology; geography)

Category (the client’s industry)

Typically, clients look at their problems through only one or two lenses at a time (usually the company’s challenges and goals, then maybe what their competition are up to). By viewing challenge through what’s relevant in cultural trends, technological trends or customer insights, too, we can help them open up to new ways of solving their problems.

This is our starting point when first tackling a client’s problem. The research we get out of it is then fed into collaborative workshops, strategies and creative briefs.

‘WITH INNOVATION, WE CAN PICTURE SUCCESS, BUT NOT HOW TO GET THERE’

It’s incredibly hard to take big, bold steps into the future if you’re attempting it one project at a time. If you try to iterate your way by improving slowly, you don’t make enough big leaps; if you make the leap straight to the future, you’ll come unstuck. So, you need a plan, a roadmap to innovation, to help you.

Imagined Futures

This is one of the most effective tools we use. It helps you identify a revolutionary and successful future for your company, then works through creating a highlevel roadmap to get there.

We start by framing what a successful future could look like by writing audacious statements as a stimulus for the group. For example, instead of: ‘Grow mobile banking app penetration by 5% each year over five years,’ we might say: ‘By 2022, 95% of all credit card transactions will happen without physical cards.’

We then work backwards to identify the key things we’ll need to achieve to get there. We also identify the enablers (assets, people or processes that will help us), blockers (assets, people or processes that will hinder us) and key behaviours (mindsets, attitudes and habits that will help keep us on track).

The statements are then organised and prioritised against overall business objectives, and form the core pillars of an innovation plan.

‘WE HAVE OUR IDEAS. NOW WE NEED TO VALIDATE THEM. BUT HOW?’

Congratulations, you’ve whittled hundreds of hopeful innovations down to just a few options. But which is the one? Which are you going to make and when? The guesswork is over, though — you need to know as far as possible, for sure, which will work for you.

The trick, as ever, is being canny with investment. Ask yourself: What’s the smallest possible version of these ideas? (See illustration, below)

diagram_777x425Get there in four steps:

1. Hype it

Video is a good way to showcase an idea, because time constraints force you to edit down to the most compelling story. Aim for 60 seconds, and structure it in a simple way — the background; the problem; why the problem is important; the solution, and the impact of solving it. Pull in footage from corporate videos or stock libraries, and you’ll have something powerful that can easily be shared.

CommBank in Australia chose to develop something more sophisticated when they created ‘Game changers: Commonwealth Bank Case Study’, a video showcasing a futuristic vision of the apps and services they believed would come to life and be available to consumers in the years ahead.

2. Make it

The word ‘prototype’ sounds time consuming and expensive, but making the idea tangible could be as simple as a Keynote or PowerPoint presentation, or a basic Squarespace website. The goal is to build something that mimics the functionality, user experience or features of the end product.

3. Fake it

If we said ‘consumer testing’, what would you imagine? Usability labs, focus groups or other research methods that take significant time and large investment? Often, we’re able to utilise much simpler methods to validate ideas.

Some early-stage start-ups pretend sophisticated functionality exists behind a website (such as e-commerce), when in effect the test phase is handled completely manually. They take an order online, fulfil it over the phone, package it up, send it, and manually send a confirmation email

You could also create a simple landing page. Design a logo, a value proposition, and potentially include your video. Then buy some search terms, create a lead form for those interested in finding out about the launch, and see what happens.

Work out a success metric by equating a value to every customer. If someone wants to know when you launch, they’re pretty likely to at least trial your product or service.

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4. Try to break it

You don’t want to be late to the innovation party. You want to be there first, already owning the room by the time your competitors arrive. So you have to move fast. You have to get your ideas out into beta testing as quickly as possible.

In Australia, Macquarie bank has recently pushed into consumer banking, with a vision to be an entirely digital bank at the forefront of customer experience and digital innovation.

Its model is based on getting a minimum viable product live and tested with the public as quickly as possible. They’ve done this through technical innovations, such as embracing open source technology,

while changing the structure of the team, creating smaller groups — which can make decisions more easily — that then work collaboratively with the other groups rather than in silos.

LOOK, WE REALLY DON’T HAVE TIME FOR ANY OF THIS

Ah, the biggest barrier of all. We understand how challenging it can be to pull teams together, dedicate time, develop ideas, and get them validated.

That’s why we’ve created a simple tool called Rapid Invention. We’ve used it to help countless clients, tapping into our global network to develop ideas from across the world in 24 hours. All you need is an hour and groups of two people to get started. If you're interested visit.

Or, of course, get in touch and we can take you through the process in more detail.

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If you enjoy this article, why not check out the below articles from 'The Bank is Dead. Long Live Banking.'

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Winning over generation Y

How to survive and thrive in the fintech revolution

You can read the full finance journal.

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