Who in his or her right mind – doesn’t want to be labelled innovative? It is one of the few words that when attached to a career would naturally emote success, money, prestige, influence and maybe power.
But one person suggest that organisations and people should not focus their energy on innovation but rather on its opposite – exnovation.
First coined by A. Sandeep in 1996, the modern interpretation of exnovation is the disallowing of further innovation or improvement of a product or process once it has been tested and finally confirmed to be the best from all tested before. Those products/processes are stabilized and standardized for no further innovations. Then they have achieved exnovation or deemed exnovated.
Confused? Its polar opposite, innovation calls for continuous improvement of what has been innovative. So, whilst innovation has theoretically no end – it is a journey, with exnovation – further development stops. Whatever the final product or process is, it is deployed, standardised and set in stone.
Does that remind you of anything? In truth, many processes at many organisations today, including and especially banks, are exnovated. These become sacrosanct to the point where even hints of improvements are not allowed.
FutureCIO spoke to Ray Wyand, founder and CEO of gini, on the topic of innovation or the lack of it in Hong Kong’s banking sector. While he agrees that there have been many PR successes and arguably some changes that have made more money, an in-depth look into true innovation has been lacking in the Hong Kong banking industry.
Wyand goes on to describe the work that gini is doing with banks to help these organisations better understand their customers by understanding their own data.
He suggested that what would truly be innovative is helping consumers understand their finances better.
“I think that's a bit has been missing in Hong Kong. I think it’s not enough that a consumer can see and feel. I think that's why when you look at FinTech investment, there's a perception that we are lagging behind now, and that's the thing that I think that the virtual banks will bring,” he continued.
He covers a number of emerging technologies and what is happening in the local banking scene.
Blockchain: Banks are obsessed to create innovative products, but it must use blockchain. His view is that blockchain is a technology still looking for a problem to solve.
Financial literacy: He shares his frustration about the difficulty managing personal finances because unlike Spotify which consolidates everything – such a capability doesn’t exist to help a consumer know how much money he or she has, how he or she is spending that and where, etc.
“It is inconceivable to me that we will still have 12 banking apps on our smartphone and they will not communicate with each other, that is just impossible! Look at Spotify, it consolidates everything. Banks cannot expect people to spend hours a month training themselves to use these services,” he lamented.
Artificial intelligence: Consumers don’t need to know how it works. It just does
[like Spotify and Netflix]
Wyand goes to suggest that the big challenge in finance is that the industry keeps talking AI but actually in terms of like how it is applied no one is not clear on what it is that the banks actually want the end consumer to feel, and what the banks actually get out of it.
“How do you use technology like AI to make sure that in an environment where a customer can easily leave, where they want life to be simple, and they don't want to have to go to their bank branch every day, how do you use technology to make sure that you win in that environment,” he pondered.
Wyand may not have used the term exnovation but if you look at where we are, as consumers and customers of Hong Kong’s banking services, we’ve been sitting dead on the exnovation track for over two decades.
Watch the full to hear Wyand’s views on where innovation should be headed.