FinTech businesses are all about innovation. FinTech itself is an innovation on existing financial services. For your business to break through to the next level of success and remain a key player, you need to adopt innovation as a core strategy in your business.
Launching an innovative product or service isn’t enough to stay ahead of the game anymore because the pace of innovation is so rapid that your business can become obsolete almost overnight. Having an innovative organisation isn’t as easy as it sounds. Every company wants to stand out and to be ahead of the curve. But getting there requires more than just coming up with new ideas. To get there requires a culture of innovation – an environment that promotes and drives creative ideas and innovation on an ongoing basis.
So, how do you have an innovative organisation? Here are 3 fundamental places to start:
Your leadership style
Everything comes from the leader and the tone set by the top breeds or destroys innovation all the way through the business. How do you react to ideas, challenging conversations, employees who push the boundaries of what your business does? If you regularly shoot down ideas, punish mistakes (where innovation or initiative was sought), immediately look for reasons why an idea won’t work, never see through an idea into conception, then you’re likely a leader who isn’t promoting a culture of innovation. That’s going to end badly for your business because your competitors are going to advance far quicker than you and you’re always going to be playing catch up.
Another innovation killer is confusing people with conflicting messages, such as asking people to come up with new ideas, while at the same time pushing them to focus on short-term objectives. Confusion can breed inaction—pretty soon, employees stop developing new ideas. Instead, they play it safe by focusing only on short-term goals and quick wins.
Encourage innovation from the bottom up
Ideas can come from every corner of business. From sales, to marketing, product, and customer service. Your employees in each area work with such detail in their space, detail that you’ll never see, they are often the best placed to challenge existing convention and look for innovative solutions. You shouldn’t just rely on a few key employees that you view as innovative thinkers. You need to encourage innovation from every part of your business. Google, probably one of the most innovative organisations in the world, doesn’t just promote but expects every department in the company to innovate. When seeking out innovation look for intelligent employees in every area and seek out their thoughts and ideas on how they could innovate both their area and the business as a whole. Not every idea will be a breakthrough but your innovation can come from anywhere and if you’re not open to it, it won’t happen.
Fear is a severely crippling emotion. Employees who are too scared to try new things or challenge convention will be constantly stifled for innovation. Who is going to want to try something new if they know they face the chop if their idea doesn’t work? One of the main tasks as a leader is to establish the right climate so people are inspired and encouraged to innovate. If you can make your employees feel safe (regardless of the outcome), they will feel more open to propose new ideas and challenge existing behaviours, no matter how crazy they might sound. If you can tolerate mistakes, where innovation was sought, and not penalise those who tried, you’ll have a culture far more innovative.
Innovation is the key driver to help you compete for the future. It’s the pivotal moment when talented and motivated people seek the opportunity to act on their ideas and dreams. Help these ideas and dreams come to fruition by growing a company where innovation can flourish.
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