Open innovation to boost business banking

Through the use of technology, entrepreneurs are able to communicate directly with funders and potential clients. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Through the use of technology, entrepreneurs are able to communicate directly with funders and potential clients. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Cape Town - In this fast-changing world, open innovation and collaboration are increasingly becoming less of a differentiator and more of a ticket to the game.  

This statement applies as much to banking as any other business sector, said Jayshree Naidoo, Innovation Thought Leader at Standard Bank.

“Open innovation and collaboration is about sharing powerful ideas and bringing together the world’s most inspired thinkers, from all walks of life, to address challenges impacting on individuals, communities and organisations,” she said.

“It is also about opening up the playing field for innovators and entrepreneurs to start their own businesses, assisting to provide solutions to the job creation challenge in South Africa.”

She answered the following questions in a nine-part Youtube series:

How technology is altering the traditional roles of the innovator and financier?

Very often, the products and services that are coming to the forefront are being offered by entrepreneurs in this space and we don’t have to just think about traditional competitors, we are now being challenged by the small entrepreneurs … so it’s really important for us to get into the head space of those entrepreneurs.

What a bank or company has to do to promote out-of-the-box thinking?

Our new role … allows us to crowd-source ideas from entrepreneurs and innovators from across the world … and that is one of the ways in which we are embracing technology.

Watch the full series now:


How technology is unlocking opportunities for innovative SMEs to communicate with potential funders?

Through the use of technology, entrepreneurs are able to communicate directly with funders and potential clients. It is not necessary for them to get face-to-face meetings anymore.

Closing the gap between an innovative idea and its actual commercialisation

Standard Bank is launching three new incubators: a business innovation incubator that will supply business development support to entrepreneurs, a technical incubator that will offer rapid prototyping and commercialisation support as well as patent protection and standard support, and a virtual incubator that will provide technical mentoring and coaching to entrepreneurs.

New skills needed to assess the viability of tech proposals

Banks need more skills to assess these proposals, but education also needs to take place with entrepreneurs on how to position their proposals for growth in the technology space.

The technology or business areas where the most innovation will come from in the next 3 to 5 years

Mobile has taken off in Africa and in South Africa it is growing just as fast. There are several incubators designed just for mobile products and services and we see a lot of growth in that space.

How banks are changing to meet clients’ needs

We talk about human-centred design, which refers to understanding clients’ behaviour through ethnography and then make certain assumptions on what is required.

Technology changing the way banks do business

This ties into the access to big data, the way that we use predictive modelling … in determining customer behaviour. With the use of social media taking off, we need to track customers’ behaviours. We want to move away from the ‘Big Brother is watching me’ approach to understanding what clients are doing from a lifestyle perspective as opposed to just a product perspective.

Working in the open innovation space

This is about realising that, as a bank, we may not have all of the answers that we need to solve all of the challenges that we face as a business. That means opening up your business to the crowd and the wisdom of the crowd. So, getting business ideas from innovators and entrepreneurs across the world to solve some of the pressing challenges we face as an organisation.


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