Turning banking into a business of dreams

Digital Reinvention
18/12/2023 Article
profile picture of Antonio Coppolecchia

Antonio Coppolecchia

Accenture

Financial Services Lead EMEA at Accenture Song

Antonio Coppolecchia, Financial Services lead for Accenture Song in EMEA, looks back at ten years of observing key innovation trends and shows us how we can turn banking into a ‘business of dreams’.


Ten years of celebrating innovation

This year’s Qorus-Accenture Banking Innovation Awards were not an ordinary edition. We celebrated the tenth anniversary of the awards, and it’s a milestone worth highlighting. During this decade, we got over 5,000 submissions from over 1,000 financial institutions. It’s hard to imagine something more global and engaging, not just in banking.

Winners and forecasting trends

Together with the Accenture Research team, we analyzed banking innovation submissions over the past decade and discovered that on average, our winners achieved slightly higher growth rates. In addition, those who win tend to do so more than once. 

Together with participating banks, we have built a great window to see the upcoming disruptions in our industry. Let’s take a few examples of this success in forecasting new trends. 

In 2016 we were on stage talking about the ‘year of bots’, long before chatbots became as relevant as they are today. The next year, 2017, the evolution of open banking was at the center of our reflections – a trend that is now a must-have in every bank’s strategy. In 2019, when ESG was the hot topic, we were talking about sustainability as a common thread of the big transformations to come.

Window on the future: challenges and the business of dreams

A decade is a long period, and events that unfolded, especially in its last segment, were not always pleasant. The banking industry is no exception when it comes to rising interest rates, rising consumer prices, and the growing ‘shrinkflation’, a phenomenon that makes us pay more to receive less products than before.

When we look at the effects on us and people around us, we can say that: WE. ARE. EXHAUSTED.

Climate disruption is reshaping our dreams. Stress and economic forces are compelling many people to give up their dream jobs and life goals, such as buying a house. The scary consequence is that many people have stopped dreaming.

It’s not just an issue disturbing our sleep. It’s something deeper because, in the words of Shakespeare, ‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on.’ Dreams are an essential part of us and we can’t afford a life without them.

In this permacrisis context, banks should rediscover the importance of being in a meta-industry. The most innovative players will be the ones able to offer customers all means to embark on a journey to make them rediscover the power, beauty and feasibility of dreaming. We see a banking move towards a territory we may describe as a ‘business of dreams’. 

It’s not an easy journey and it might be even harder to describe it. I thought nothing better than a song could walk us through this new, fascinating path. But a single song wasn't enough for our remarkable innovation trends, so we curated a playlist.

Players have to make sure nobody is left behind in the opportunity of dreaming big: diversity, in its broader meaning, is a value

Humankind

First track: Coldplay, with their Humankind hit. Players have to make sure nobody is left behind in the opportunity of dreaming big. I was in Milan at a Coldplay concert, and Chris Martin wore a t-shirt with the slogan ‘Everyone is an alien somewhere’. The message is clear and strong: diversity, in its broader meaning, is a value.

Back to business, this concept is well expressed by Negozio Leggero concept store, which unlocks the light shopping experience for singles who don't need ‘family packs’ and want to buy loose products. 

In banking, Isybank from Intesa Sanpaolo wants to make everybody feel part of its fresh revolution but at their own pace, introducing several features and opportunities such as letting people put the name they prefer on their cards.

Danske Bank erases biases in job postings to encourage diversity and attract more and better candidates. 

In the UK, Bloom creates community savings clubs that help people connect and save together with their family, friends and neighbors.

There’s nothing more fragile than a dream. Players must provide people with all the information, ideas and solutions they need to avoid walking too soon and all alone on a boulevard of broken dreams

(Not a) Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Second track, by Green Day. There’s nothing more fragile than a dream. Players must provide people with all the information, ideas and solutions they need to avoid walking too soon and all alone on a boulevard of broken dreams.

I love movies, and when I’m asked to pick the greatest ever I always say ‘The Godfather’. It’s because a dreamer has been resilient and knew how to foster his resilience. Paramount Studios and all the producers didn’t want to cast Pacino and didn’t want to spend as much as Mr. Coppola asked. But the director insisted until his monumental work was finished and amazed all of us.

Beyond perseverance, it takes effective initiatives to sustain the ambition.

Sephora, for instance, promotes grant programs to support business leaders from minority groups, allowing them to access funds and mentorship services to succeed in the beauty industry.

Back in banking, BNP Paribas Fortis makes real estate more accessible to a wider audience with a rent-to-own formula.

Attijariwafa Bank empowers Moroccan startups enabling them to start their business in their home country.

Lastly, there is Charlie, which enables customers to get access to their social security payments three to five days earlier, without fees, allowing them to finally enjoy a well-deserved retirement.

Players can make customers dream, tell them what they need but then they must provide all needed support till dreams come true

Don’t Stop Me Now

Third track: Queen, Don’t Stop Me Now. Players can make customers dream, tell them what they need but then they must provide all needed support until dreams come true.

We could take a fairytale from the 1992 Euro Cup. Denmark did not qualify but due to the Balkan crisis, they were re-admitted by UEFA. Players were already on holiday, and one of them was having a terrible time due to his daughter’s illness. They still agreed to compete and with just 10 days of training, they faced all top teams until winning the cup. A true sports miracle.

Back to business, David’s Bridal started by selling wedding dresses. However, they soon realized they could do more to help their customers fulfill the dream of a lifetime, becoming an end-to-end wedding companion.

Countless success stories show how this trend is big in banking too.

Ellevest, for instance, starts from the idea that things are just different for women, thus crafts financial plans based on those differences to boost their future wealth.

Riyad Bank launched TOKEN, a program specifically designed for little dreamers who, thanks to gamification tools, take their first steps into the financial world with digital tokens.

Lastly, the AI investing assistant Magnifi is a concrete example of how it is possible to democratize the investment world making it accessible to everybody.

In an ESG-led world, it’s key to strive to put collective good in front of individual glory. Players should make people nurture dreams with a positive external impact too

One

Fourth track: U2, with their hit One. In an ESG-led world, it’s key to strive to put collective good in front of individual glory. Players should make people nurture dreams with a positive external impact too.

The latest Olympics brought this concept to its peak. Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Barshim were the only two contenders for the high jump gold medal. Same score. They could decide to go on. But in the end, they agreed to split the highest podium step to value their long-lasting friendship. Again, sport proved to be the greatest storyteller ever.

Back in business, a great example is UNSTUCK, which allows leading food brands to craft products with ingredients sourced only from suppliers employing refugees. 

In the banking world, KBC allows its customers to embrace concrete solutions for a sustainable, ESG-friendly living.

Commonwealth Bank’s business customers can always get clear measurements and support around environmental impact, with special access to ESG-certified suppliers.

Banco BV allows its customers to gain special NFTs after donating to social causes.

Dreams are usually limitless. But the bigger the dream, the harder to fulfill it. But technology is now offering a superpower to all players willing to embark on this path: generative AI. A brand new ally in this complex endeavor

I Ain't Worried

Last track: OneRepublic, I Ain’t Worried. Dreams are usually limitless. But the bigger the dream, the harder to fulfill it. But technology is now offering a superpower to all players willing to embark on this path: generative AI. A brand new ally in this complex endeavor.

GenAI is the new version of what NASA people on the ground did to make sure Apollo 13 crew could come back after the technical issues they faced. What’s different now is that this amazing superpower is in the hands of all of you, with no need to be as big as NASA.

The impact is potentially limitless. In the UK, GenAI gave a mother the chance to help 17 doctors detect a rare disease affecting her son after they all failed to make a proper diagnosis.

Banks are increasingly playing this new, amazing game too, with a smart, gradual approach.

Intesa Sanpaolo is enhancing its virtual assistant, Ellis, to revolutionize customer interaction with an omnichannel experience, natural language and hyper-personalized content.

NatWest wants to improve 10 million people’s financial wellbeing by 2027 thanks to the ethical and responsible use of GenAI.

JP Morgan Chase with its IndexGPT relies on a disruptive form of AI to orient customers towards the most fitting and promising investments for them.

Just a few examples of the real disruptive trend that will change our industry forever.

In summary, we have an unparalleled opportunity we were all hoping for to rewrite the future, a better one. And also to give new energy to your customers’ dreams. 


Qorus members can access a complete feature including a detailed presentation of all the winners here

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