We are tuned in to students' innovation

Heikki Härkönen
Heikki Härkönen, Head of Business Development, within Business Innovation
17-08-17 10:39 | About Nordea | The Digital Hub

Nordea’s second six-week pop-up Summer of Innovation program recently came to a close, when our two groups of talented students, based in Stockholm and Helsinki, wrapped up the last of the 12 sprint cases provided by our customers.

Seven corporate customers joined Nordea’s innovation challenge this year to co-create new solutions that will best serve our common customers. Each of them has provided a one-week sprint case based on a business pain point. The Summer of Innovation teams have subsequently mapped and prototyped a solution within five days per sprint. Impressive stuff – and our customers agreed!

Collaborative, contextual banking

The reason why Summer of Innovation is a really exciting initiative for Nordea and our customers is that it provides another example of how we are increasingly working in an agile manner, and co-creating it future solutions directly with our customers.

Financial services have always been an enabler for development, growth and trade. The recent development of Fintech, AI, robotics and other buzzwords have largely been driven by the evolution in consumer devices and the subsequent rise in consumer expectations. New business models and services have quickly emerged all around us in response. And in this space, many Fintechs have out-competed the incumbents by providing better customer experience and ease of use through tailored niche solutions.

Banks must co-pilot the customer journey

Banks have responded to this by developing innovation and service design capabilities to match the new level of customer expectations. But is creation of better user experience and innovation of next generation versions of traditional banking services catering to the underlying demand? There is no question if the traditional services of banks need to be brought up to today’s standards – it is an absolute must! However, I would argue that this is only part of the story.

Banks need to get back to their roots of enablement and opportunity creation for their customers through deeper contextual services. To dilute this to purely “service design” is an understatement. The future of financial services is to not only develop banking services, but develop services that handle, or seamlessly integrate to, the end-to-end customer journey. Understanding the full customer journey and context within which banking services are consumed is a paramount first step to build contextually relevant services.

Co-creating future banking

Nordea’s Business Innovation unit focuses on understanding the overall business processes and models of our customers and their end consumers. With this understanding we can leverage and adapt our existing and upcoming products to enable our customers to seize new opportunities and drive growth in their businesses.

This is why programmes such as the Summer of Innovation, are so important. With such a “think-tank” approach, we have been able to dive deep into seven different industries over a period of six weeks and attempt to resolve the challenges within them. It is a win-win-win solution for everyone. Our corporate customers get access to highly skilled teams with a different approach to solve their issues, Nordea broadens its understanding in our customers businesses and eventually consumers will get better life services.

Personally, I see this outset should be the core of innovation in financial services, new technologies and working methodologies are merely the tools to support the execution of such mentality.

/Heikki Härkönen, Head of Business Development, within Business Innovation

Summer of Innovation: 

• The programme is organized by Transaction Banking’s Business Innovation unit.

• It runs between 5 June and 14 July in Stockholm and Helsinki.

• In total 10 students (5 in each country), with different backgrounds, joined the sprint teams.

• Each week, the teams have been given a new case to solve and pitched a solution at the end of each week.

• The Google Venture one-week prototyping methodology was utilized for the sprint work.

Below: The finnish team and the Swedish team 2017. Stay tuned for their result.

Summer of Innovation Teams

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