Fresh Banking Ideas Sought from the Crowd

Published Aug-11-14

A nationwide crowdsourcing competition in New Zealand spawns fresh ideas for apps to make banking easier for consumers.

Westpac, New Zealand

The Story:

Fresh Banking Ideas Sought from the Crowd Crowdsourcing with consumers comes with numerous benefits: increased innovation capacity, a flow of new ideas, reduced innovation risk and accelerated time to market with new products and services to name but a few.

Whether it’s a crisp brand such as Lay’s looking for new flavor combinations or Nivea developing an entirely new deodorant, dozens of the world’s biggest brands are sourcing ideas from their customers.

So, when New Zealand bank Westpac wanted new apps to improve the banking process for its customers, it wisely turned to the crowd.

“Because we work in banking, we look at things very much through a banking lens,” said Simon Pomeroy, Head of Digital Banking and Customer Experience, Westpac. “We wanted to collaborate with everyday customers and also collaborate with people that are more involved in this industry, developers and designers, people that are actually involved in developing applications already.”

Popular Contest

To drum up interest in the crowdsourcing app challenge, bank staff toured a number of institutions, colleges and innovation incubators. The contest attracted a lot of attention with its own webpage garnering more than 57,000 visits, tweets and conversations.

More than 120 entries were submitted by teams and individuals. They covered a range of banking services including savings tools, security, transfers and payments. From this number, seven were selected to present their concepts to a panel of experts at Westpac’s Head Office in Auckland.


Originally, the competition was going to select two winners, but Westpac felt the ideas were so strong that three were announced. The bank has released few details of the apps because of commercial reasons, and says it won’t do so until they are ready for launch. However, they're associated with security, payments and transfers.

One of the winning ideas was the brainchild of Steven Pinkham, a supermarket supervisor from Christchurch whose app grew out of his observations of customers at the checkout.

He told the New Zealand Herald newspaper: "The idea is transferring money between a customer's accounts. The problem is that sometimes people don't have enough money in their account to pay for their groceries. My idea is a straightforward approach, and was inspired by Westpac's own CashTank app."

Wellington pair John Jackson and Justine Polkinghorne came up with an app that they believe will make financial management easier. David Arnold from Tauranga created a concept based on his personal experience.

Each winning app earned $10,000 in cash for its creators, and Westpac is paying $50,000 to have the programs developed as part of a royalty-free, exclusive licence for New Zealand and Australia.

Winners Retain IP

The winners all retained the intellectual property of their innovation and are free to take their ideas to other banks.


Westpac was so pleased by the crowdsourcing contest that it followed it up with a global app challenge in the UK.

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