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How financial services providers can deliver agile innovative projects during the Coronavirus crisis


Innovating from the ‘outside-in’.

As the Coronavirus crisis continues, traditional financial services providers have quickly mobilised to adapt to new ways of working within the constraints of social distancing and self-isolation. With a reduced physical presence on the high street, their customers are migrating in their droves to FinTech apps and other digital services to take care of their finances and make payments.

Even before the crisis started, and by their own admission, some legacy brands have been slow to embrace digital transformation. Not all providers are nimble enough to be able to leverage the agility, adaptability and scalability they need to keep innovating and quickly bring financial products to market to meet increasing demand. Innovation Department CEO and Founder Alex Song asserts, this is not really a big surprise: “It’s rare that mature corporations can successfully innovate from within at the required speeds and efficiency needed to compete with today’s start-ups.”

Song also believes that these corporations can achieve the agility and adaptability that drives successful challenger business models by approaching innovation from the ‘outside-in’. As Song says: “It’s much easier for external partners to navigate the corporate ecosystem while keeping an agile and nimble mindset.”  Arguably, it’s critical to sustain innovative project delivery right now to protect market share and deliver solutions that meet customers evolving needs. Bringing in external expertise and adopting a new eco-system approach could help traditional providers embrace agility without any major organisational change or disruption. 

How an outside perspective could unlock project value

Without the right internal culture, agile methodologies and talent pool, some providers will struggle to be responsive enough to sustain innovation during the crisis and beyond.

So, here are just some of the ways that an external partner could help your business accelerate and unlock project value:

  • Bridging skills gaps – you will be able to bridge skills gaps with talent that has been handpicked to deliver a bespoke project.  With skill shortages and the ongoing challenges of social distancing and self-isolation, not all teams are running at full capacity right now.
  • Objective project appraisal – your business will want to invest resources carefully so an objective, outside appraisal of the project will help determine whether you should go ahead. Song points out that an outside innovator can also quickly move onto a new idea without being constrained by internal red tape or team dynamics.
  • Innovations can reach customers quicker – 90% of agile projects have a faster time to market than traditional waterfall projects.
  • Delivering realistic wins – an external partner can help you identify small, realistic wins that can evolve into bigger gains as the product or service matures.
  • Mitigate project risks – continuous improvement means an agile project manager can help the team identify and respond to early risks in the delivery lifecycle.