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NextBankAsia - Challenging the Status Quo

Today in Singapore we've had a gathering of a collection of real innovators and disruptors in the financial services and customer experience space. The line up at#NextBankAsia was a bunch of strong influencers in the space including:

The event was put together by Rob Findlay (@nextbankasia) of OCBC Customer Experience fame, and previously from NAB in Australia. So what were some of the key themes...

Innovation is about simple value

In the world of banking today, the big question that remains is how banks are going to bridge the gap between changing consumer behavior and the way banks work. Bridging this gap takes constant change and innovation - the world of constant beta, as some have characterized it. At #NBASG12 (Next Bank Asia Singapore 2012) the discussion of the innovations that succeed were not necessarily the first movers from a new technology perspective, but those that understood the application of technology. Scott Anthony pointed out that much of the innovation behind the success of the likes of Apple, was not about creating a new paradigm, but by focusing on how to improve the lives of customers by making their customer journeys simpler, easier and hence, more compelling day-to-day. Scott also explained the impact of venture capital and how that shifted innovation out of corporate labs in the 60s and 70s, into private entrepreneurship in the later decades of the 20th century.

James Gardner extended on this theme by giving a historical perspective on how the great innovations were not necessarily from those who invented new technologies, but from those that cracked the secret ingredient of commercialization of those innovations. Gardner argued that Microsoft spends far more than Apple on R&D, but Apple has been phenomenal in their timing and commercialization of innovations around technologies like Tablet and touch-screen.

Today, community is emerging to build new experiences and business ideas, and competitors are emerging far quicker than ever before. The simple message is that if you're in the space, try to figure out where there are pain points, or where emerging or dominant behaviors are underserved through great experiences, and develop capability around that. Once you launch, be prepared to move fast to build broad support and protect your innovative approach.

Building the WOW in Experience

Andrea and Richard from IDEO, Maria and Sushmita from Heath Wallace, Nicole Fall and the demos of Playmoolah and Perfectsen talked more tactically about how to build better consumer experiences. Maria and Sushmita presented a discussion entitled "CX in the City" where they talked about putting the "WOW" in consumer engagement. Andrea and Richard explored the different values of money in Asian communities and how banks were creating massive gaps in banking experience by simply replicating western banking models in Asia, and not leveraging the unique opportunities in this part of the world.

Playmoolah demonstrated a model for engaging children online to help promote positive behavior financially, and hook in incentives for saving and doing chores at home. Stewart Chen from Perfectsen challenged the audience saying that everyone was talking about Y-Gen behavior, but he was a 'real Y-Gen' so could talk with authority. He demonstrated his Y-Gen'ness by showing a day in the life of a Y-Gen via his photo album, including photos he took on his MRT journey into work (including an interesting shot of a fellow commuter with a wardrobe malfunction). Chen reminded the audience that engagement and WOW was not about 'likes' on Facebook - when he showed that DBS and OCBC had tens of thousands of likes, but Boo the dog had 4.2m likes.

The clear reminder was that marketing has undergone a fundamental shift and the old methodology of sending out lots of messages, and getting clicks/views/impressions, doesn't work when the measure of success is experience and engagement. Matt Dooley extended on the idea of "Point of Impact" marketing and building compelling journeys when and where banking can make the most impact.

Cross-Pollination and a Common Goal

How Next Bank Asia succeeded where very few other events in the Banking conference space do today, was an appreciation that the forces influencing the emerging banking experience is not about incremental improvement in banking, but a fundamental shift in understanding the connection of a bank to its audience given the nature of behavior and technology today.

Rob and the team at NBA did a great job of bringing together an eclectic, but super-informed group of innovators with a broad swathe of experience all with a common goal - build a better banking experience for the customer. If you have any doubts around the traction that this sort of event can achieve, just check out the Twitter stream around #NBASG12.


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Brett King

Brett King

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14 Apr 2010


New York

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This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Innovation in Financial Services

A discussion of trends in innovation management within financial institutions, and the key processes, technology and cultural shifts driving innovation.

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