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Reflections on Toronto

As we're wrapping up the loose ends from Toronto, the thing I keep coming back to is how different the conversations were than they have been in the past.

I spoke to a lot of people, primarily from financial institutions, and it almost didn't matter what technology they were talking about - they all had the same concerns. Rather than fancy ideas or demos, they were all concerned about the practicalities. They are looking at technology investments that they can do now, and that will deliver real benefits quickly.

They all wanted to know how it would work, what it would cost and how many times we have done it before. Everyone wanted proven systems that they could predict how long it would take to implement and what ROI they could expect, rather than to be a guinea pig.

It felt like we were having mature conversations about complex systems - nobody seemed to want to gamble on something that isn't proven.

The downside to this, of course, is that a lot of innovation will be a gamble - every time you spend money doing something that hasn't been done before then there is a chance that it might not work. But innovation is essential for the industry to move forward.

I wonder how these two attitudes will balance out over the next few years, they seem quite contradictory but perhaps once banks have a solid foundation of proven systems, they will feel able to take the chance of building innovation on top.

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