Innovation in Financial Services Firms: The Leadership Gap

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10 December 2013


Over the past 18 months, Celent has been researching what practical steps financial services firms are taking to increase their innovation capabilities. Overwhelmingly, survey respondents reported that innovation is important or critical to achieving company strategy. However, innovation efforts are not receiving the management attention or investment required for success.

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Celent defines innovation as fundamental changes to products, services, or business models that break existing tradeoffs and results in value to the customer.In the report Innovation in Financial Services Firms: The Leadership Gap, Celent extends this research by examining current efforts in innovation in banks, insurers, and securities firms in detail. The report analyzes responses to a global survey of 110 financial services professionals conducted in October 2013. The objectives of the survey were to: 1) gauge the importance of innovation to business strategy, 2) identify key benefits from innovation, and 3) detail the common barriers to implementation.

“Financial services firms are generally relying on existing organizational structures and current management hierarchies to drive innovation,” says Craig Weber, CEO of Celent and coauthor of the report. “We conducted a Net Promoter Score analysis, which demonstrated wide variations in the perceived support for innovation by the various C-level roles.”

“The status quo would be an acceptable approach. However, those surveyed are dissatisfied with the results of innovation efforts to date,” says Mike Fitzgerald, Senior Analyst with Celent’s Insurance Group and coauthor of the report, “There is a leadership gap in most financial services firms which, when addressed, will open opportunities for the firms investing in innovation.”

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