Banks Should Look Within for Fintech Entrepreneurs

  • Philip Ryan
  • June 20, 2016
  • 2

CanstockphotoBanks spend a great deal of time, money, and energy building technology to compete with fintech companies, but the CEO of innovation software maker Spigit has a message: Don’t bother.

Why is that? “You’re too late,” Spigit CEO Scott Raskin told Bank Innovation, referring to the banks.”By the time these companies reach seed funding, you’re playing catch-up. Before they’re startups, when the idea is in their head, they’re your employees.”

Banks should focus on harvesting innovation ideas from current employees before they leave and launch startups that may be competitors, in other words. “Every Fortune 500 company has a startup corollary, someone doing the same thing,” Raskin said.

Spigit’s software issues a challenge to a selected group, usually a group of employees. The challenge can be a question about how to do something better, or asking why a process isn’t optimal. It could also ask for pie-in-the-sky ideas that are completely “out there.” A Spigit challenge by the power sports company Polaris, for example, resulted in the Slingshot, a now-popular three-wheeled motorcycle.

Innovation usually results from small groups, Raskin says. Spigit is able to leverage larger groups, and the software is designed to allow managers to view the process and cull the best ideas from the mix and elevate them. Users involved in the challenges can “submit ideas, see ideas, vote on ideas,” Raskin said. There is more complexity to the process — pairwise voting, and dividing ideas and participants into subsets, but the basic idea is that the best idea will be elevated to the top and then, in certain cases, acted upon.

“The easy part is creating the mechanism,” Raskin said. “What you do with it is the challenging part, capturing ideas, iterating ideas.”

“The next great startup is within your company,” Raskin said. “You incubated them. Figure out the next disruptor now. Get everybody involved and take their input.”

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Philip Ryan is Senior Editor of Bank Innovation and Senior Director of INV Fintech. He began covering financial services in 2012 and has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism. He can be reached at pryan@royalmedia.com.

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2 thoughts on “Banks Should Look Within for Fintech Entrepreneurs

  1. Hiring and retaining entrepreneurial minded employees is key, especially for traditional financial institutions. This reminds me of an article I wrote for CU Insight: http://www.creditunionmagazine.com/articles/39800-why-your-team-members-should-moonlight

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