The agility of the fintech startup world has been an enviable example of how digital transformation can work. Mass adoption of digital only products are proving new models that were only being talked about a short while ago. The cycle of innovation, funding and scale never stops. As record breaking funding rounds continue to make headlines someone else is building the next app future customers will not do without.

Bank accelerators, incubators, and innovation labs all have gone some way to connecting this exciting, fast moving world to banks as they watch startups both succeed and fail at disrupting traditional banking. Leveraging this experience while collaborating with external fintechs has brought specialised skills to banks creating real change with new products and services.

“Always be shipping” is the big tech mantra. Working with fintech startups has helped to instil the organisational shift in culture that banks need to make if they are to be continuously transforming at the same speed as their competition, but while internal innovation projects and outsourced talent will make contact with select individuals in banks, what of the whole organisation?

In a report called Transforming the Group for success in a digital world, Lloyds Banking Group announced a three year strategy and are investing more than £3 billion in technology and staff saying “We are making the biggest ever investment in our people. As part of this, we have increased training hours by over 50 per cent to 4.3 million hours, with over 1 million of these relating to developing key skills for the future. We are on course to deliver our target of cumulative 4.4 million training hours relating to skills for the future by 2020.”

Innovation departments and initiatives have shown to produce results but change is also needed on an organisation-wide level as explained by Matthew Wyles, Chief Executive Officer at Hampshire Trust Bank PLC. “Every employee should have innovation in their job description. My experience is that you have to give people permission to challenge the status quo, reward quality output and also challenge them if they don’t contribute. You have to create a sense of joint ownership and the pride that comes with that, if you want to tap into that incredible latent pool of knowledge and insight. Once you build momentum, like a tsunami, it’s self-perpetuating.”

How then can this be put into practice? Iain Driscoll, Head Of Digital at Secure Trust Bank PLC has some practical examples of how this could work. “Formal innovation/ good idea schemes where employees are rewarded for submitting good ideas. Employee “focus” Group’s – call centre staff in particular are a good source of information and ideas as they talk to customers and understand their needs and wants better than most with user testing/ feedback of concepts.”

A digital transformation skill set can be developed with support to understand the regulatory and technological potential that can accommodate new models and practices.  The intrepreneur mindset of all employees from customer facing to back office requires not only the freedom to share ideas but also the expectation.

Article originally published on Fintech Circle.