The Race for Relevance in Financial Services

2015-11-16 00:00:00.0

Africa is our home.  And for the past 153 years we have been helping drive her growth.  In the race to remain relevant for the next 153 years, we are looking to partner with innovators and entrepreneurs who help improve lives and fulfil aspirations across the continent, says Paul Steenkamp, Innovation Capability Exec at Standard Bank

Standard Bank is offering these innovators and entrepreneurs the opportunity to walk away with a share of R 500 000 during their Innovation Week, 18 – 20 November that features the highly regarded ‘Pathfinder’s Challenge.’  This challenge sources the wisdom of forward thinkers across the globe to help solve for the role of financial services in emerging industries like Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Agri-Tech etc.    

At Standard Bank we define innovation as ‘Creative problem solving that radically redefines customer experience’, says Mr. Steenkamp. 

“In order to deliver innovations that meet this definition and thereby genuinely enable our clients’ lives and businesses, we’ve adopted an open innovation strategy. This means we believe in the power of partnerships and what’s unattainable alone. The Standard Bank Innovation Week running from 18 to 20 November in Johannesburg is designed to help protect, nurture and grow South Africa’s innovation eco-system. This annual event is an opportunity for innovators, investors, entrepreneurs and fintechs to participate on an open platform, to network and showcase the ways in which they are contributing to digital disruption in financial services. These brave catalysts for change will participate alongside our amazing partners, Matchi, Liberty and Microsoft BizSpark. “

On Friday the 20th of November, winners amongst the 20 finalists of the Pathfinders Challenge will be awarded their winning share of R500 000 in cash prizes, additional development and business support, dedicated coaching and mentoring, and the opportunity to commercialise and scale their solutions with help from Standard Bank.

The week culminates with Standard Bank’s Incremental Innovations Awards. This is a bi-annual initiative aimed at employees who have implemented small improvements or upgrades made to a bank’s existing products, services, processes or methods. The top entries have contributed to a total business benefit of R170 million. At this gala event, the finalists will battle it out in front a jury and live audience of their peers, for a share of R1 million worth of prizes. 

“This reward and recognition is a great way to democratise participation in our innovation journey.  We believe that every one of us as an employee is capable of implementing an incremental improvement, at least once or twice a year. The cumulative impact of these improvements compounds over time. What’s more, these small improvements are hard for our competitors to copy as they aren’t visible to the outside world – so they are a great source of competitive advantage.”

“Innovation Week, Pathfinders and our Incremental Innovation Awards are just some of the ways in which Standard Bank is increasingly becoming a learning organisation, one that is committed to exploring, iterating and experimenting.” concludes Mr Steenkamp.


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