Scarlett Sieber, CCG Catalyst’s Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, was recently interviewed by Jim Smith, a Partner at the Boston-based firm BlueDun. Their conversation, which can be found in full here, covers a huge range of topics in banking and fintech, from best practices for engaging with fintech startups to how banks should think about converting their cores (or not.)
Below, Scarlett discusses how to develop a culture of innovation at a traditional institution. Innovation culture is one of her favorite topics and is the subject of some of the talks she delivers at events. Be sure to read the entire post to hear more from Scarlett on the latest thought on bank strategy and innovation.
Q. One of the hardest parts of driving innovation into an organization is managing cultural change. How do you make innovation part of the cultural fabric of a legacy company? Is it possible?
A. An innovation culture needs to come from the very top. A CEO that is hostile or indifferent to innovation can have a chilling effect all the way down. People across the organization need to know that innovation matters and their ideas matter and it’s okay to try and fail — this all goes back to culture. But culture is notoriously resistant to change. You will come across certain people who will fight innovation and fight change and fight new ideas – if you’re an innovator, then it’s time to find a new job. You have to think about what motivates people, what motivates your team. Alignment of incentives is crucial to get the right buy in. You have to show people the positive impact innovation will have on their business.
If there is not an organization-wide mandate to be different, to do better, then you are going to have isolated groups and lack a concerted effort. But if the C-suite and the board want change, then you need the right people with the right resources and the right strategy.
If you’d like to learn more about building an innovation culture, or any of the topics Scarlett covers in this discussion, please reach out to CCG Catalyst.