Social Collaboration for Innovation

20 December, 2013 (11:03) | Blog | By: admin

To spur their efforts at innovation, winners of the BAI-Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards 2013 are learning to collaborate more within their own organizations.

By Kenneth Cline

What does innovation mean in today’s linked-in world? For Benjami Puigdevall, head of electronic channels at Barcelona-based CaixaBank, it means accommodating yourself to a more collaborative, sharing environment. In the traditional innovation model, Puigdevall explained, employees were focused on their corner of responsibilities, which meant that knowledge was concentrated in a small group of departments.

“To be collaborative and innovative today you have to be more social; you have to be more open-minded,” Puigdevall says. “Decisions can no longer be taken just by one responsible person.” This doctrine has important implications for the ways in which managers have to interact with employees who work under them, he adds. “I have to be ready to accept that I will lose some part of my power as a manager because things will be more social and collaborative.”

It was thinking such as this that helped CaixaBank win the Most Innovative Bank of the Year Award at the 2013 BAI-Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards ceremony held at BAI Retail Delivery 2013 last month. CaixaBank, which won the same award in 2011, was cited for “its ongoing creativity in delivering value to customers beyond the transaction and continuing to demonstrate innovative thinking and solutions around the customer experience and customer engagement.”

Employee Incentives

CaixaBank also shared the Product and Service Innovation Award for its SegurCaixa Auto, a mobile application that provides convenient access to travel assistance services such as accident declaration loss, policy information, traffic news, gasoline station locations and even reminders of where the customer’s car is parked. The other winner in that category was Hana Bank of Seoul, Korea, which was cited for its One Click Mortgage, which enables all five steps in a mortgage origination – application, underwriting, signing, document generation and closing – to be processed online.

Chang Kyung-Hoon, division head, Retail Banking Division, credits Hana Bank’s ability to maintain a team focused on innovative products, as well as incentives for employees who contribute new ideas, for the bank’s success with One Click Mortgage.

The Channel Innovation Award was won by Warsaw, Poland-based Alior Bank S.A. for its online credit process, which expedites purchases at online vendors via online income verification, enabling the customer to receive a decision and funding within 90 seconds. The bank reports receiving over 185,000 loan applications within the first six months. “What’s crucial is that the whole organization knows that innovation is the key for us. If you want to be recognized as the best employee, you should always think about something new,” says Michał Hucał, deputy CEO at Alior Bank, noting that any employee can contribute and be recognized for their ideas.

For the Innovation in Internal Process Improvement category, the winner was Vienna-based ZUNO Bank, which was recognized for its multi-country direct banking standardization that provided the company with a centralized operations framework in several central and eastern European countries. The Disruptive Innovation in Banking Award was given to Hana Bank for Hana N Wallet, a mobile application that enables customers to manage their financial lives on a multi-channel basis via their smartphone.

Johannesburg, South Africa-based Standard Bank won the Innovation in Societal and Community Impact Award for its AccessBanking, a service designed to make banking more accessible and convenient for customers who might otherwise have difficulty utilizing banking services. Under this system, a full suite of banking and savings products is offered via a network of agents, retailers and cellphone banking capabilities.

“AccessBanking was driven all the way from the board and as a result created a culture of pride and ownership in the business, making sure we developed the right offering and business model to effectively serve the mass market and previously unbanked,” says Audrey Mothupi, director/head inclusive banking. “We have consciously focused on innovation and continue to run group-wide innovation campaigns that call on every staff member to participate. To us ‘AccessBanking’ just made sense!”

Finally, Jibun Bank Corp., located in Japan, was awarded an Honorable Mention for Disruptive Business Model for its Jibun Bank Apps for Smartphone, which provides full banking services through mobile devices. Created as a joint venture between Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and KDDI (the second largest mobile telecommunication operator in Japan), this lean and agile infrastructure with only 157 staff members supports more than 1.5 million mobile customers.

Makoto Shibata, principal analyst, eBusiness unit and IT Initiatives Division, at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, says the secret to Jibun’s success was having it operate as a separate unit from the parent organization, which also offered mobile bankingservices but could not make them a primary focus as Jibun does. “For the customers who would like to do everything on mobile, we thought it might be better to have a separate network. And with the help of mobile network KDDI, we were able to create more mobile-centric offerings,” Shibata says.

Mr. Cline is managing editor of BAI Banking Strategies.

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