Our Index shows FinTech taking the lead

As a consultancy with an inherent interest in big business innovation, we think it’s important to find out which UK companies are doing it right. While many pay public lip service to the importance of innovation, there are those who don’t value it as much as they say…

That’s why we created the first survey that takes the temperature of big business innovation from the inside: the Innovation Insider Index. We asked around 20,000 influential professionals in the UK to rate their own companies against our six principles of innovation. They gave us a Top 30 of this country’s big business innovators, with representation from a wide range of sectors, including automotive, retail, energy, tech and financial services.

FinTech: outpacing the rest of its sector

The Index also looks at how businesses from different industries tend to behave. One of the more complex was the financial services industry: overall, the challenges and changes of recent years mean that around 80% of this sector’s investment is focused on regulatory compliance. But there’s one specialist area that bucks this trend – FinTech.

Insiders from this field gave several high scores to their companies in this sector. So what makes them different? To start with, we see businesses led by individuals with a clear innovation agenda and bold leadership. Barclays and Aegon are two players with coherent, digitally-led visions for the future.

Aegon had the vision to move from a traditional, broker-mediated insurance model by creating Retiready, an intuitive, mobile-enabled, direct-to-customer pension and ISA sales tool. They did this by focusing on what their customers thought and needed.

Meanwhile, Barclays has been generating a range of innovative new products and services; one of the latest is bPay, a contactless payment wristband that brings a cashless lifestyle one step closer.

These advances are in the context of a step-change in payment networks, partly driven by the entry of tech giants like Apple (their contactless Apple Pay system is reported to be launching this month) and game-changing services like Bitcoin.

Our advice to established financial services organisations

As one of the sectors that have seen the most disruption in the past few years, traditional financial services companies now need to zero in on how to differentiate themselves. Being a big institution and focusing on regulatory compliance, while essential, is no longer enough. You must be ambitious and find effective ways to engage with a digitally native generation.

But you don’t have to take on everything in-house – collaboration is key. There’s a reason this is one of our six principles of innovation: sharing and learning lets you validate and refine your new ideas quickly, especially through early prototyping. This maximises your user experience input; excellent and insightful UX design can really bring new projects to life.

Get more details in the 2015 Index

You can download the full report to discover our Top 30 innovators, commentary on the results, and some of their reactions and insights. Find it at www.mginnovationindex.com. Check if your company made the Top 30, and let us know your thoughts – does your business embody the six principles? Join the conversation on Twitter: #innovatebig #6principles