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Fact: great ideas can come from anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Look inside your organization. How many employees do you have? 1,000? 10,000?

Somewhere in your organization is an employee, maybe more than one, with an idea that can transform your business.

Unfortunately, not enough companies enable or encourage their employees, in all departments, to share ideas. Instead, ideas stay just that…ideas. They never see the light of day. On the off chance an idea is shared, it gets lost in translation due to informal processes or too many hoops to jump through to reach a decision maker.

And when an industry is going through disruption, a company can’t afford to have those game-changing ideas sit in people’s heads or get lost in translation.

KBC Bank, a European bank and financial services leader, is an example of a company that experienced disruption first hand. But instead of sitting idly by, they decided to do something about it.

Financial services, like many industries, is going through a tremendous amount of change. Technology has fundamentally shifted how consumers interact with banks and other financial institutions.

Consumer behavior has changed demanding more personalization, convenience, and ease of use from the products and services they use.

Sofie Blockx, Head of Corporate Change & Culture at KBC, said it best, “The financial services industry is at a tipping point. Disruption is coming, and we want to stay well ahead of it. To do that, we must understand our customers’ needs, which means having all of the information we can get from the employees that directly engage with them.”

Every employee at your company has some level of information about your customers. Information breads insight. This type of data can have a profound affect on a company’s growth if used correctly.

Knowing this, KBC launched an innovation program that would energize the company and its entire workforce.

The birth of The Pitch

With over 30,000 employees across six countries, KBC knew in order to combat the effects of disruption they needed to enlist the collective knowledge of their entire employee base. The Pitch was the perfect vehicle for them to jumpstart this effort.

The idea behind The Pitch wasn’t just to create a mechanism to collect ideas with idea management software, it was to inspire every employee and encourage them to be part of the innovation process.

KBC, in fact, wanted innovation to be part of its DNA. And they wanted their employees to know that they could make a significant impact.

Mission accomplished.

Here’s a glimpse inside The Pitch innovation program:

Through The Pitch, KBC has been able to accomplish several things:

  • Create camaraderie between employees in all six countries where KBC is located
  • Exposed to more ideas that could bring value to the business and its customers
  • New customer facing solutions that were originally ideas from employees

More importantly, KBC created the engagement they needed from their employees to have a sustainable culture of innovation. A critical factor in fending off disruption.

Conclusion

Whether you have 10 employees or 10,000, to think that great ideas can’t come from your employees – no matter their job description – is a mistake.

Time and time again, we see companies remove the barriers to entry for ideas by embracing crowdsourced innovation. And when they do this a funny thing happens, ground-breaking ideas come from the most unlikely sources.

Companies that don’t embrace crowdsourced innovation run the risk of missing out on the ideas that can forever change their business.

Don’t be one of those companies.

financial-services-innovation