Innovation in banking demands supportive culture from top down

Digital transformation requires an innovation structure and foundation or it will not occur. You can't run a good hackathon just to impress the investment public. Successful innovation projects depend on high-level corporate support, enthusiasm at the company's grassroots, and a culture that ensures that deserving innovations will move from concept to reality. Otherwise financial creativity will wither.

Organizations continue to support innovation efforts with everything from innovation labs to hackathons. While such efforts are well received by investment analysts, and are great fodder for senior-level strategic planning meetings and competitive chest thumping, the one thing lacking from many of these efforts is a supportive culture for actually implementing new ideas that are generated.

If these efforts receive top-level support from initiation to implementation, entire organizational cultures can be transformed. An example is a hackathon I just participated in, sponsored by Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s leading banking company, in Bratislava. In its third year, the 24-hour Novathon included more than 20 teams working on 6 categories of new solutions.

What stood out about the Intesa Sanpaolo event was the level and breadth of commitment to the process by the entire organization. Heading up the event was Maurice Lisi, Head of Multichannel and Customer Experience at Intesa Sanpaolo. He was one of many senior executives from Italy and across Europe who were very actively involved.


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