Bet Your Bottom Dollar: Innovation in Financial Services

By Henry Crabtree

Posted on

Banks and financial services institutions have always been at the cutting edge of innovation. Shifts from coinage to cash, cheque books to debit and credit, and a recent move toward contactless and internet banking have seen the industry continue to reinvent itself: all the while making things easier for customers and exploiting new opportunities for value.

Today, innovation in financial services is at its most rapid. Improvements in security, customer experience, and value creation have led the industry to a point where financial services organizations must be creative and forward-thinking in order to not only survive, but thrive.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, innovation had to accelerate as finance companies needed to digitize services for a greater number of customers, find appropriate support for these services, and move towards hybrid or remote working models internally. Many companies might believe that this digital shift was a one-time change brought about by extraordinary circumstances, but this is not the case. Innovations like a digital transformation form part of a larger journey towards innovating at an always-on capacity. Improving your product or service to be the best it can be, for both yourselves and customers, is an ongoing process.

When surveyed, financial institutions place innovation high on their priority lists: just below customer experience, data usage, and value creation. However, The Digital Banking Report found that less than 10% of financial services businesses see themselves as pioneers in innovation – with a third of respondents saying that they are ‘fast followers’ of innovation. So why is there this disconnection between being innovative when necessary and falling behind when there are fewer external pressures?

For companies around the world, innovation has to sit at the core of any strategy designed to deliver products and services. Whether it’s improving operational efficiency, making radical one-off innovations, or implementing ‘step change’ innovation, businesses can always do more.

In the finance sphere, digital transformation is about more than just modernizing technology and finding a better way of working. It also involves comprehensive changes that look at how to extract value – both from within the organization, but also to customers and stakeholders in the business.

The Financial Brand have realized that this value is often more complex to quantify than just being a new idea that improves revenue. Innovations that deliver real change are often beyond a novel product/service or an improvement: they usually “define a problem or customer need to address… with multiple approaches to solve that problem… [using] tests to determine the best solution.”

This approach is what underpins our Challenge Driven Innovation® methodology for problem solving and innovation. At Wazoku, we understand that ideas are everywhere but solutions are much more rare, and more valuable. By using our enterprise platform, leveraging both internal and external innovation, and using a defined process like CDI®, companies can not only develop but also implement actionable solutions. Using a 4D process of Define, Discover, Develop, and Deliver, we help organizations to continuously find and react to their problems in a real world manner, bringing about real world solutions.

Innovation in financial services has become a necessity, as since the pandemic, there has been a worldwide shift in meeting customer needs and providing digital capabilities on-demand. The 2021 Digital Innovation Benchmark Report has shown that 80% of respondents thought that their businesses would be less successful in 5 years if they were slow to innovate, and that 3 in 5 were concerned about the pace of innovation in their business.

By working with Wazoku, our platform and services can accelerate these processes and engineer pathways towards success. Companies like leading banks in the UK, insurance companies such as Alte Leipziger, and ACBA have used our platform and open innovation to supercharge every aspect of their innovation. From establishing secure co-creation communities with partners and suppliers, running open calls to solve complex problems to our Wazoku Crowd of millions, new product development, and idea gathering and evaluation, Wazoku can be the bridge you need to make innovation valuable and always-on.

Financial services institutions that focus on seeing innovation as a core capability, not as something to play catch-up on, will help to differentiate themselves to both customers and competitors – as a leading force in the industry.


Want to learn more about how Wazoku can accelerate innovation for banks, start-ups, insurance firms, fintechs, and more? Get in touch today or email me at!

By Henry Crabtree

Wazoku's Community Marketing Manager, Henry is also a life-long Manchester United fan - but we still love him, regardless. When he's not cheering the Reds on, he's working his way through an extensive reading list. Need a book recommendation? He's your man!