Innovation must be measurable to be valuable

The word “innovation” gets thrown around a lot in banking these days, but Lara Druyan, managing director, head of innovation, west coast, for the Royal Bank of Canada warned that without metrics, it is easy for innovation efforts to get “squishy.”

Druyan described the metrics that helped give structure to innovation efforts. “I don’t do squishy,” she told the audience, “and I don’t recommend that anyone who does innovation does squishy.” This means setting out knowing what you want to accomplish, said Druyan.

Another aspect is speeding things up. Banks can move slowly, but tech companies, as is well known, do not. Speeding up some processes is critical for banks to work with startups — another plank in Druyan’s innovation platform. To work with — or acquire — startups, banks need to shift their operational thinking slightly.

It is also important to make sure your innovation group is not a castaway on an island. Druyan said she has found it encouraging how many people from across RBC want to meet with her team and learn what they are doing. These employees can be your innovation team’s best cheerleaders.

RBC is one of North America’s largest banks, with $1.2 trillion and assets, and 3 million mobile customers (out of a nation of just 36 million.)

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