Another call yesterday from an institution wanting to know about starting an innovation programme. They are coming more frequently. It is a sign, I think, that bankers generally are recognising there might be a light at the end of this particular tunnel, and they'd better have something compelling in the pipeline if they want to take advantage.
The most interesting thing I get from these kinds of calls is visibility of how few bankers really understand the power of the innovation assets they already have under their control.
For example, most institutions have some kind of staff suggestion box. Most, also, don't do anything with it. They let their people hand over their ideas, which then sit around gathering dust.
Since the staff suggestion scheme is a foundational infrastructure for building out an innovation programme, it is always surprising to me why institutions don't take the next step and couple some of these ideas with a little bit of structured execution. Or, at the very least, do some analysis and scoring to find the gems in what is probably a hefty database of potential uniqueness….
The other thing I've worked out, speaking with all these banks, is that so very few institutions actually know how to do the execution bit. They can collect ideas ok, but the moment they have to do something with them it seems to get very, very hard.
It isn't hard, by the way. You just have to know what to do.
That is a consulting opportunity of very significant proportions. As I've observed here before, however, no big firm is taking the bull by the horns and dealing with this pent up demand. I don't understand why, but do wonder. If I handed over referrals from every bank that calls me, I've little doubt that someone could make a lot of money.
But also consider this fact, especially if you are a partner at a consulting firm: if you are helping an institution with its idea management and progression, you also have visibility into every single future project of any significance. And the ability to shape those projects. It's a win for the firm, who will likely get quite a significant percentage of that work. But its also a win for an institution, who, as I've pointed out, have this huge untapped asset of all those staff ideas which noone is doing anything with.
It will be interesting to see, in the coming months of possible recovery, to see which firm jumps first on the innovation opportunity in banks. And then, after that, watch the rest rush after the crumbs that are left.