Home / Opinion / SIBOS #1: Why banks don’t get innovation

SIBOS #1: Why banks don’t get innovation

So it’s six weeks until SIBOS and, at SIBOS, I’m participating in a
stream all about innovation called innotribe. Innotribe is going to be
a hotbed discussion of new things in banking, particularly new
disruptive technologies such as cloud computing, mashups and

To be honest, all of those interest me, but most banks are focused upon
the here and now operational management and so innovation may be
slightly out of scope … or maybe not as there appears to be quite a
bit of interest in this area, especially amongst the SWIFT community.

The stream of innotribe I’ll be leading – along with Mary Knox of
Gartner Group, Matteo Rizzi of SWIFT, Tim Collins from Wells Fargo and
Richard Jaggard from HSBC – is focused upon the future of banking, with
a particular leaning towards crowdsourcing and social networks.

Harnessing the power of crowds builds upon the nature of ‘community’
and the areas I regularly discuss in my blog. You can find a directory
of blogs and case studies by clicking here for example.

Meanwhile, as there’s six weeks to go, I’m going to explore six themes
around these areas in the buildup to SIBOS. The first theme is
wondering why banks don’t get it, one of my favourites.

Banks don't get innovation, and particularly crowdsourcing, is because
banks are secure organisations which, by nature, must be risk averse.
The idea of opening a banks' doors to a group of strangers to network
and debate and dialogue is therefore just completely against the very
nature of banking.

As a result, banks don’t get social networks, social media, crowdsourcing or open source.

Take this 2006 article
in Wired magazine where they discuss the rise of crowdsourcing, the
opening lines read: “Remember outsourcing? Sending jobs to India and
China is so 2003. The new pool of cheap labor: everyday people using
their spare cycles to create content, solve problems, even do corporate
R & D.”

The idea of using ‘everyday people’ to assist a bank in their spare
time with content, problem solving and R&D is about as intuitive as
Lady Gaga mixing with the Royal Family … it could happen, but it
won’t be comfortable.

However, by ignoring this space, banks lose millions of dolllars of
opportunity to generate more robust, more capable and more customer
oriented products and services. In fact, banks lose the opporuntiy to
save millions of dollars of cost and generate millions of dollars of

For example, how much does a bank invest in marketing these days? Ever thought your customers could do it for you … for free?

That’s the nature of crowdsourcing.

So, there’s my first theme.

By not being innovative, open and collaborative and by not leveraging
the latest networked technologies, banks are losing billions of dollars
of opportunity.

Oh yes, and I did say not all banks think this way. Here’s a few who are joining the innotribe stream for example:

  • Beatriz Lara , Global Head of Strategy and Innovation, BBVA
  • Casper van Amelsvoort , Marketing Strategy Manager, Rabobank
  • Cindy Murray , Global Banking and Wealth Management , Ecommerce Executive, Bank Of America
  • Lars Millberg , Head Cash Management, SEB
  • Richard Jaggard , Head of Sales APAC, HSBC
  • Tim Collins, Senior Vice President, Experiential Marketing, Wells Fargo

About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

Check Also

Hook, line and sinker: how to do marketing (part one of many)

As it’s August and everyone is on holiday, I’m going to deviate a little bit …