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Innovation May Be the Key to Survival

By: Kari English

Are you tired? You must be. Because I get tired just trying to follow everything going on in the banking industry right now. Besides the fight against new regulations, the battle to keep competitors at bay, the diminishing revenue margins and the constant public relations campaign to improve the industry’s tarnished image, you have to find time to run a business and manage employees. It is similar to the global problem the keynote speaker at the American Bankers Association’s National Conference for Community Bankers last month pointed out: The world population is consuming more than Earth can handle. How will we survive? Isn’t that what you wonder about your bank? How will it survive the challenges it faces? Both the world and banks do have a fighting chance of surviving. The key is innovation, according to Ken Robinson, an internationally acclaimed expert on creativity and innovation.

The good news is any organization can be innovative — and it is not as difficult as everyone thinks. One myth about innovation, Robinson said, is that a culture of innovation is about special people. This is a myth because some of the best ideas come from the least likely spots. The key, he said, is for all employees to be engaged. Another myth about innovation is that it is about special things. Robinson said this is untrue; you can innovate anything. And the third myth about innovation is that there is nothing you can do about it. Robinson said it takes a lot of time, encouragement and tending, but any company can be innovative; the culture just has to come from the top.

There are three components to innovation, according to Robinson. The first component is imagination, which he defines as the ability to bring to mind things not currently available. Robinson suggested bankers challenge the things they think are obvious. The second is creativity, which is putting imagination to work by taking action. One caveat to creativity is that the ideas need to have value and be relevant. And the third component is innovation, which Robinson says it putting good ideas into practice.

How do you create a culture of innovation? One idea is to create teams. “Great ideas come from different perspectives so teams are important,” Robinson said. Similarly, diversity is also important. Also, if you want innovation, you have to engage people, not control them. “Creative leaders don’t have to have all the good ideas,” said Robinson.

To learn more about how to create and support a culture of innovation, as well as read about companies famous for their innovative cultures, click the link below.

Creating a Culture of Innovation 

Kari English is senior editor of BankNews.

Copyright (c) March 2013 by BankNews Media