I just finalized my review of the entries for the 2009 Monarch Innovation Awards; for the second year in a row, I’ve been one of the panel of judges for the awards.
The awards are presented by Barlow Associates, a leading banking industry market research organization. As their press release notes, “the awards honor innovation in the financial services industry and seek to recognize financial institutions that provide the most innovative products to business customers and to recognize risk takers who create/promote innovation within their organizations.”
Given all the turbulence in the financial sector, it might seem like an odd time to be focusing on innovation – but it’s not. Cast your mind forward just a few years from now, and think about what we’ll see within the business banking sector:
- a good part of our financial infrastructure will have migrated to mobile platforms people will think it normal to conduct banking via SMS transactions; a good chunk of the current credit card infrastructure will have migrated into our cell phones, Blackberries and iPods;
- Gen-Y will have a different type of financial relationship, and are likely to use those financial brands that “stay ahead” in terms of technologies, capabilities and other factors;
- existing banks will find their markets and brands increasingly challenged by technology companies, particularly mobile platform organizations, as well as disruptors from other industries such as accounting and ERP software companies
- we’ll see increasing financial sophistication in the small and medium sized business sector; the ability to scale internationally financially will become an increasingly important success factor, and this trend will be one of the key drivers behind the coming economic recovery
That’s why awards like the Monarch Innovation Awards are important; they celebrate the heroes who are still busy innovating, staying ahead, and positioning their organizations for the future – because they know that trends like these will provide for significant market and business opportunity in the future.
I referred to them before when I wrote my Memo to the CEO some time back, pressing a message that as CEO’s of financial organizations navigate the turbulent water around them, they should ensure they also have a team that is firmly focused on future trends.