Dropping the curtain on ‘Innovation Theatre’: Part Five


Our event, Dropping The Curtain on Innovation Theatre,  last Monday wrapped up with a panel discussion on predictions for 2017. What is going to happen over the next 12 months that has us all talking this time next year?

The panel’s views broadly fell into four categories:

1)    Blockchain – will it? Won’t it? Are we approaching the hype peak? Is the latest announcement about Santander and Goldman Sachs leaving R3 telling?

2)    China – capital flooding into FinTech beat the US (from VCs) in 2016 – lots going on in that market worth looking at and learning from

3)    Cyber threats and digital identity – IoT won’t work without digital security moving on a step. Biometrics and digital identify schemes will become more commonplace

4)    Capital – momentum capital will stay stable but seed capital will continue to dry up

Interestingly, when asked what the big stories of next year will be, none of the specialists on the panel said that UK banks will have taken major leaps forward in their innovation strategy. Potentially just an oversight. We mentioned in a previous blog post that it will only take one visionary team to stop skirting around the issue of innovation and finally put their money where their mouths are to make it a commercial reality. We are certainly in live conversations with enough visionaries to suggest 2017 might see the tides start to turn – particularly as retail banks are strongly encouraged to open up.

Banks are going to need to make a bold move sooner rather than later if they want to retain and gain customers. In July of this year, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was quoted as saying “It took five years to reach our billionth trip, six months to reach the next billion … and we’ll hopefully reach our third even more quickly.”We think we are nearing the tipping point on consumer switching as the use of digital services become more mainstream and increase expectations – this is a real, societal shift.

Banks need to stop paying lip service to innovation – no more ‘labs’ with projects and trials that go nowhere, no more re-painted receptions with bean bags and table tennis tables, no more hackathons. Just real innovation that suits changing consumer habits and takes advantage of the tech already available in the market. As our CEO, Lee Cameron said in his closing remarks at our event on Monday – ‘surely there is a better way to spend all this money…’

Nick White

Author: Nick White

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