What comes to mind as you think about innovation?
We often think of innovation as being driven by new technologies. They may take the form of new devices such as the next iteration of a smart phone, or new types of software such as artificial intelligence or blockchains.
While new technology is important, one theme that emerged from the IPA’s Innovative Payments Conference in Washington DC is that people drive innovation in payments. This is why companies need to keep the big picture in mind as they try to build the next set of products and features.
In session after session, our speakers talked about the importance of understanding people when it comes to driving innovation forward.
There is one thing that businesses need to exist – customers. Financial services touch people’s lives in a very comprehensive and personal way. So many things we do each day involve a payment. Understanding the needs, desires, and capabilities of potential customers is key. We heard from the Bureau of Fiscal service about how the government has looked for ways to meet the needs of benefits recipients from the days when checks were a new technology. Meeting people where they are is crucial, and so is bringing them along to the next level of innovation.
This coincides with the fact that the audiences that financial services providers are trying o reach are diverse ones. We had panels that discussed how to reach out to new groups of people, both inside and outside of an organization. Building a diverse team can provide more inhouse knowledge that will lead to building better products.
Of course, building products and entering new markets comes with risk. So, one big piece of advice was getting members of a team comfortable with the idea of failure. The people who need to be able to handle failure are not only the product development team, but also management and even investors. Not every idea is going to work, but it is better to test some of them than just avoid every path to innovation out of a fear of failure.
Watch this space for more insights from our conference and an announcement on how you can get access to recordings of the sessions!
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