There is a revolution going on inside banking. And that’s not just a cheap cliche.

It is this revolution that has led us to present Bank Innovation Build, our newest conference, on Nov. 6-7.

Allow me to explain: A few days ago, Dana Maor, a senior partner at McKinsey, wrote that the consultancy believes “that some 43% of all working hours in banking activities will be automated in the future,” creating a “massive shift from basic cognitive skills, to socio-economic and technological ones.” While understandable, it remains a startling statistic.

Maor pointed out this statistic in the context of talent strategy, but I would argue that this shift to automation has implications far beyond the HR department. The shift calls into question just how a bank should function at nearly every level.

Couple that question with the realities of today’s banking innovation and you have some serious uncertainty for the average bank CEO. There remains for many — OK, most — banks a tremendous gulf between innovation goals and innovation implementation and results. Invariably, banks still cannot get out of their own way when pursuing an innovation strategy or, at the least, the banks can simply do better to realize a greater innovation ROI.

Often these shortfalls come in one of three ways:

  • Under-resourced. Banks want to delight their customers, but are not prepared to allocate the resources necessary to offer revolutionary fintech products.
  • Under-emphasis. The inertia of legacy products, services and technologies leads a bank to avoid embracing true innovation, and by that we mean tangible new products that significantly change a methodology, resource allocation, HR dynamic or customer experience. In other words, this is not a “tweak the tech” approach.
  • Under-motivated. Yes, the bank adds an innovation team. Yes, there is budget for innovation. Yes, the “talk” is there. The only thing that’s missing: will. The bank lacks the will to change, a shortcoming that is often couched in many ways but invariably leads to an innovation team without results.

Even the notion of an innovation team has clouded recently. I was talking to the chief innovation officer of a major bank recently and, as we were catching up, I asked him about his day-to-day job. He said he was mainly engaged in mediation between the IT department and product development.

“Then why is your title still ‘chief innovation officer’?” I asked. “Good question,” he replied.

There are countless “good questions” in the banking industry today — too many, in fact – and they start with: how can innovation teams be reinvigorated and reinvented to improve today’s banking? When we started Bank Innovation in 2009, the notion of “banking innovation” was foreign. It is not today. In fact, it has matured and become commonplace, and that means innovation professionals need to identify ways to maximize their fintech resources, not just secure them. There is a better way to better results.

All these “good questions” led us to the conclusion that the industry demands a conference that endeavored to provide “good answers,” a conference that included sessions on the mechanics of a successful innovation team, the hallmarks of innovation HR and the recipe for successful bank-fintech collaboration. At Bank Innovation Build, the cumulative goal of the sessions is to discern how to improve the practice of banking innovation – not just for today but for the years to come – as the revolution of automation transforms banking into something none of us will recognize. This advancement needs to come not just in practice, but among personnel and teams that can refine their approach for greater ROI.

At Build, we will identify and share those best practices and ideas. The goals are lofty but we – all of us — are up to the task.

Bank Innovation Build details here.

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