Innovative Banking Idea Courtesy of the Crowd

Published Jul-14-15

A more personalized banking service wins an open innovation contest and is awaiting implementation.

BankMobile, United States

The Story:

Innovative Banking Idea Courtesy of the Crowd Consumers can be a fabulous source of ideas and creative thinking as companies far too numerous to mention have discovered. One of them is BankMobile, a division of Customers Bank. The financial institution offers a no fee mobile, online and tablet banking platform and in 2015 launched its "BYOB - Build Your Own Bank!" open innovation contest. It asked the crowd for a video or image that described a product or feature they would implement if they were building their own bank.

Fresh Perspectives from the Crowd

Reaching out to the crowd in this way can provide organizations with cutting-ideas that can help set their course for the near, medium and long-term future, or indeed confirm that they are already on the right path. These fresh perspectives, often provided by outsiders may also lead to the development of bold new ideas.

BankMobile's contest generated a number of innovative ideas, which were evaluated by a panel of five judges based on the following criteria: creativity, cost, feasibility and alignment with BankMobile's value set.

The judges selected 10 finalists who when faced a public vote via Facebook.

Bank Contest Winner

The winner of the open innovation contest was Stephanie Hallgarth for her video entry entitled, "Beyond Banking", an idea to combine a person's calendar with the BankMobile application. This is based on the premise that much of a person’s schedule is connected to the contents of their bank account.

Stephanie’s innovation involves such features as linking her concept of a "banking life organizer" to Facebook for birthday and event reminders. In so doing, individuals can keep track of their spending as it relates to personal commitments.

Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer at BankMobile, Luvleen Sidhu, said: "...her [Stephanie’s] innovative idea that supports our mission of simplifying your life and providing you with the tools to be financially empowered. Crowdsourcing has always played an integral role in our bank and we look forward to implementing this idea and allowing the voices of our prospective and current customers to be heard."

The bank hopes to launch the winning idea in summer 2015. For her efforts, Stephanie picked up a check for $5,000.

Although BankMobile is only using one of the solutions it received, the evaluation of numerous ideas was useful for the insights they gave into customer thinking about banking on the move.

The Crowd as Innovation Partner

Many of today's most successful brands and consumer-facing companies didn't get where they are by lacking smart brains. R&D departments filled with intelligent and creative individuals are well-versed in using their skills to address problems and create new products. However, in some situations, problems can be solved more efficiently and brilliant ideas can get to market more speedily with the help of the crowd.

Although crowds by their very nature are often decentralized and loose gatherings, skilled use of open innovation, adoption of the right open innovation model and implementation of tightly scoped challenges can steer external brains in the right direction to deliver just what a solution seeker needs.

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