Lloyds TSB has introduced an internal artificial currency and stockmarket in ideas in a bid to foster an innovation culture at the UK bank.
Participants in the innovation market publish ideas and identify the best through trading.
Under the programme, bank staff are paid in artifical Bank Beanz for their involvement in an online community that collects, rates, and categorises new ideas. Staff can vote for the ideas they like, or comment on them in forums.
The most successful ideas are picked up and promoted onto an internal stock market where staff can use their Beanz to buy into ideas they like.
The price of the idea approximates the chance it has of going into production, says James Gardner, head of innovation at Lloyds TSB.
"Believers in the idea can get in low, and sell high. They can make windfall gains in Bank Beanz, and use them for rewards in our Innovation Store," he says. "Yes, we back the Bank Bean with cold, hard, cash. It is an exceptional motivator."
Gardner says the bank has had to put in controls to counter hyper inflation of the Bank bean, but conversely is encouraging insider trading since it makes people want to be on the inside so they can speculate successfully. As Gardner observes, to get on the inside you have to work on the team making the idea happen.
"The idea, we hope, is that with this coupling of ideation and innovation we'll make it possible to accelerate our pipeline of interesting things," he says. "Instead of being scale-limited with headcount constraints in the central innovation team, anyone can be an innovator."Introducing innovation market - Bankervision