We met with Sophie Bialaszewski, Head of Innovation Culture, Events & FinTech Collaboration at ?Lloyds Banking Group, to discuss innovation and company culture, prior to her presentation next October in Luxembourg. She will be one of the guest speakers of the upcoming InsurTech Summit, which will take place on October 12th.
How would you describe the "innovation spirit" you implemented at Lloyds Banking Group? What does it consist of and how is it translated/felt on a daily basis within the company?
I’m lucky that everyone I work with at Lloyds Banking Group is passionate about doing the right thing for customers. I never have to sell the reasons why a culture of innovation is important which means my job becomes more about helping people to DIY innovation. What I do is provide colleagues with the opportunities and experiences to help them come up with new ideas and solutions to current and future challenges, create a framework that allows people to work in an agile way and help them to experience things like hackathons. Many organisations run hackathons but for us they are part of a larger innovation journey that help colleagues experience what it is like to work in multi-skilled teams with designers, developers, business and customers, validate ideas with customers and MVP an idea.
How important is innovation for a leading banking group? How were you able to change the mindset and culture of the company when it comes to innovation?
Innovation is always important to any organisation no matter the sector or size. What I do at LBG is to bring the outside world in to inspire people to think differently and to help them feel confident to challenge the status quo and to push for change. You may have heard the saying that ‘showing is better than telling’, well ‘feeling is even better than showing’ and that’s why to change mindsets you have to create experiences that show a different way and help people to feel the change. It’s not a one off intervention it is something that has to be lived and breathed so we work with colleagues to create experiences but we then support them and embed new practices into their everyday business.
As a FemTech leader, you are one of the voices of women in Europe. Who would you name as your inspiration and how would you therefore describe your mission as STEM leader?
When I really think about my inspiration it comes from many different places; from my family because I want to make them proud of what I do; from the team I work with the fantastic colleagues Like Benedict Brogan, Claire Calmejane and Maxine Austin and from the external environment people like Krissy B the founder of a start-up we worked with called Swave and Janine Hirt from Innovation Finance who are looking to influence the financial services sector on a global stage.
Women are said to be more creative, and have different vision on business the men. What are the main advantages on working on gender equality in the workplace?
I don’t believe there are more or less creative people but more about people having the confidence, support and time to be creative. I am a firm believer that the best ideas come from having diverse people working together – it’s the diversity of skills, experiences and backgrounds which produce the best and most creative outcomes. We should as organisations be looking to reflect our customer base, there is much research and evidence about the economic and productivity benefits. That’s why I am so pleased to be leading our partnership with Innovate Finance to sponsor their Women in FinTech Power List 2017. It’s a great way to showcase the awesome talent we have in the sector and help the next generation of women see all of the possibilities and opportunities there are for them in the financial services sector. Let’s make sure that the next generation only see blue sky above them, no ceilings.
Do not miss her presentation, and register now: www.insurtech.lu/registration
Interview by Alexandre Keilmann