Over the last year, within the financial industry, we’ve been witnessing a switch between company centric views and actions to a connected network view: collaboration has become the leading perspective and biggest strength of the industry. While this prevailing perspective within the financial ecosystem is at odds with political and social trends we witnessed arise throughout 2016, cooperation is a key aspect of what makes our industry function.
In looking to the field of political and social trends: there’s a clear split between ideological viewpoints on the social level. We see this from close election results and media that’s being produced and shared on an individual person-to-person basis. Yet, the political leaders that have gained traction and are actively pushing their agendas forward, and the political standpoints that are being pushed to the forefront, are those that retract from the global community and any collaborative efforts with the standpoint that they’re better off alone, where they can put their own values and interests first, and won’t compromise for the benefit of equal growth. We’re seeing this change with the new administration in the US, Article 50 in the UK, and upcoming federal elections throughout Europe.
Looking back to our industry: our core values seem to be at odds with these political perspectives. We’re focused on globalization, this idea of the global citizen, openness, and the keystone of our platform, which is collaboration. a common characteristic of the B2B finance industry has been to operate on a very closed in system: not unlike what we’re seeing politically rise to the top as a solution to the various problems that some political actors and movements are looking to solve. Yet, from closed-in cycles to building a collaborative ecosystem, the financial industry has established this as the first major hurdle that needs to be addressed in order to create a thriving platform for innovation.
The banks are focusing on creating porosity, startups are focusing on shifting humanity onto the next level, and thought leaders are encouraging everyone involved in the financial industry to embrace the role as a connector: making Fintech the most forward thinking business ecosystem today.
Banking institutions are now regularly engaging with, and relying on, the startup ecosystem for it’s rich dynamic: fueled by open innovation that will continue to create more opportunities for others to come plug-in to the ecosystem. As connectors, we believe that true innovation is a result of open discussions between internal and external innovators. Even if you’re new to the financial industry, a lot of the current innovation growth has been done by the people who had no prior experience within the industry.
As a connector, here’s what you should be thinking about, improving, and implementing on a daily basis:
Information is the 1st key element. We are already part of a network where the platform is continuously expanding, and this massive network is charged by information. The role embraces growth through peer-to-peer education and sharing information. The more information you have, the better decisions you make; and sometimes, because of how the financial industry works, you miss so much of the action, and so much of what’s happening, that if you don’t look outside of the industry, you miss being part of a network that is both facing outwards and inwards at the same time.
2nd, being a connector is about being able to listen to a problem and know how to bring in the right people to create a solution. Maybe those people are outside of your initial network, because of this, you need to be able to expand—which is why a collaborative ecosystem is so vital. Collaboration is also about team dynamics, and knowing that people from different backgrounds bring in a different way of seeing things, and together these individuals form a cross-disciplinary team. When all of this is within reach, you can act fast to the changing landscape—those who are on top of their game can mobilize to react to any problem within a few weeks.
3rd, remember that these relationships, and engaging with others through collaborative efforts and methods, is the pinnacle point of our industry; and with an expansive platform, there’s always exciting changes on the horizon. As a connector, it’s important to keep an open platform and an open mindset.
Finally, remember to think globally: this is the 4th key element. Of course it’s going to be difficult to think and align with a global perspective when your network is limited. That’s the beauty about our relationships as connectors within the industry: your always connected with others.
Connectors are passionate about wanting to see the entire financial industry grow, and are constantly engaging, thinking outside the box, and sharing. At this time, our industry has the most invested in collaboration and is a becoming a truly cooperative based community.