Building an Innovative Culture

When you hear innovation, what do you think of? Newness? Creativity? …Something surprising? Something unique? Something that makes you say, “I’ve got to have that!”?

How can a financial institution be any of these things—be innovative, right?

In our ever-changing world where people crave speed, service  and security, every institution must deliver or be left in the dust of last week’s social media feed. Quickly forgotten.

If you study organizations that have been truly innovative, you’ll notice one thing in common: innovation is something that comes from their culture, a culture that allows its people to find new things to complement the tried and true. It is their adherence to innovation that encourages customers and consumers to return again and again.

Richwood Bank, Richwood, OH
Richwood Bank – Richwood, OH Author’s Own Project Photos

Innovation is not merely on the surface by having the latest technologies or having an interactive building; it goes deeper, to the people within and how you interact with those people – how you service your customers. The way you service your customers creates a relationship. Relationships need newness and at the same time, stability to grow stronger.

If you create a culture of innovation, you create a place that retains its customers by constantly meeting their ever-changing needs.

This means any technical advances or changes are balanced with ongoing education and support, balancing the high-tech with high-touch service. Customers need to understand the benefits new technology can provide, and your employees need to be able to guide your customers, creating a seamless experience. An example might be to offer informal sessions to give customers a guided tutorial on your app or tips on how to get the most out of online banking.

Citizens National Bank, Toledo, OH
Citizens National Bank – Toledo, OH Author’s Own Project Photos

The on-line banking community needs to be as strong as the banking communities of old: They must service their clients and customers quickly. They must provide excellent service, while continually ensuring customers the institution is safe no matter what platform they use – creating a culture of trust. Partnership.

How can you build a culture of innovation in your financial institution?