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To innovate, you need two things, made of brass

Most of the banks run on systems build in the 70s-80s. They keep patching them up, tweaking here and there, instead of doing the right thing: create a totally new architecture from scratch, test and dry run it, and then switch the "rails" overnight (some banks did just that, though not in the UK).

The reason for such "coward" behaviour is clear: nobody was fired from the bank's IT department for spending N on some improvement, but to take on a risk of running (let alone suggesting!) a project that costs N x 10-100, you need two things.

And that concerns not just the banks.

Look at HS2 - even Alistair Darling is now concerned about its prospects. The right approach is not to question HS2 per se, but to compare it to all possible alternatives. Including "crazy" ones...

Enter Hyperloop. Yes, Elon Musk was laughed at when he announced details of the project in August. By people who've heard of "atmospheric railway" (as pointed out by Jeremy Acklam) - the concept that dates back to... 1799. Even those who question Hyperloop feasibility are not arguing about its viability.

The most thorny and costly issue with Hyperloop, as with HS2, is land acquisition (rights of way). That's if you lay a new route. However, recall that Hyperloop is designed to run on an elevated platform. That can be built... above the existing railway track, as far as the UK is concerned.

Hyperloop could turn out to be just a dream, but at least the concept is as bold as it gets - if it works, it could be the future of rail travel. Maybe even in the UK...


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Retired Member

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19 Mar 2009


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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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