In December 2008 Lloyds TSB 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. Bank Beanz can be redeemed for rewards in the bank's Innovation Store.
The bank has had to put in controls to counter hyper inflation of the Bank Beanz, but conversely is encouraging insider trading since it makes people want to be on the inside so they can speculate successfully. The idea is that to get on the inside employees have to work on the team making the idea happen.
Finextra verdict: Ironically, as more banks create dedicated teams focused on innovation, these teams are trying to find ways to open up the innovation process to everyone. This move from Lloyds TSB should motivate the bank's financial industy professionals with its market-based rewards, and should deliver a healthy pipeline of ideas to turn into reality.