From Innovation Theatre To Real Innovation

Those innovation days and roadshows lasted a year or two until finally, a few banks started to say: Silicon Valley is going to eat our lunch! Let’s do something about it.

When $10, $15, $20 or even $25 billion a year was being invested in FinTech start-ups, the banks could see things were actually changing. Not just innovation or theatre, but real change. It was therefore around the mid-2010s that the biggest banks began to get serious about innovation.

They started to look at partnering, investing and working with start-ups, and they started to take a long hard look at their own business, and its ability to change. At this point, a bridge was built. The bridge joined the sandbox to the bank.

Before, during those innovation talks and theatre days, the sandbox was there to play in. Like the old innovation laboratories, it didn’t have any bridge into the bank and if the innovation guys got fed up because nothing ever went mainstream then tough. Leave the bank.

Now, the innovation dialogue has moved up a notch from being a play area, a sandbox, a lab, into a testing ground to prototype and try new ideas and then build and grow. That is why most banks today are talking co-creation and collaboration. They finally get it. Innovation is not about messing around and tyre-kicking, but really about learning to fly and not crashing.

Thank goodness we are living in a real innovation time, and not just theatre or hot air talking. It only took a couple of decades of discussion to get here.

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