One of my global financial services clients wrapped up its third annual VP development program focused on innovation at the end of July and I am thrilled with the results on a number of levels.
First, the project teams met the challenge of seeking a problem to solve, delivering a proof of concept, and convincing senior execs to allocate resources. As an example, a global team of derivatives sales people and traders, focused on leveraging the consumer business as a channel for institutional products. In three months they were able to research and develop a solution to a specific consumer problem, convince the credit cards business to run a focus group and, based on excellent results, start rolling out two products.
Second, and more important, the program delivered returns that will continue long after the closing session. For example, the team mentioned above documented a replicable process for collaboration between the capital markets and credit cards businesses and they established a pipeline between these two silo’d businesses with a whole host of product ideas ready to be tested and rolled out. Another team focused on FX “baskets” but didn’t just focus on specific products in demand now, they thought about what customers would likely want next..
Finally, the continuity and success of the innovation program through the market dislocation was a testament to the commitment of the organization. Close to 25 senior executives in the business took the time to attend the final presentations. It allowed us to continue the multi-year effort of developing organizational innovation capacity.