Thank you to Dr. Mircea Mihaescu, Director, Sberbank Technology Research Center for being a Global Sponsor of the 2012 Startup Challenge supporting a Moscow Regional Startup Challenge later this year.
1. In a few words, describe how Sberbank approaches innovation and your role in the big picture.
The Sberbank Technology Research Center has been started in the summer of 2011, based on the principles that I have developed by being in the trenches of new technology development and adoption for many years: experiment fast, think like a customer, try a lot of ideas, focus on process and not on a particular “killer idea”, get results and deliverables and demos. Our objective is to create a leading-edge emerging technology team, focused on identifying and piloting new ideas to support the bank’s strategic goals (i.e. technologies for banking and financial services) and accelerate its overall business process innovation (through internal social networking) and modernization objectives (modernization being the catch-all word for the collection of innovation initiatives that go beyond technology).
2. In the context of financial services, what trends do you see start-ups focused on?
We see a lot of activity in the fields of mobile banking and mobile payments, personalized services for both online and mobile banking, and many experiments trying to benefit from the exponential growth in social and localization data.
3. How do you see traditional financial institutions positioning themselves towards start-ups and the start-up ecosystem?
We believe in the concepts of open innovation, with financial services institutions interacting with the start-up ecosystem on many fronts – from seed funding the most promising ideas, to participating in venture funds focused on financial services technology, supporting the overall market all along the growth curve through continuous experimentation and possible adoption even in early stages. A second important point for us is to collaborate globally – actively working with start-ups from Moscow to Silicon Valley and Singapore.
4. Considering that Innotribe focuses on collaborative innovation in financial services, what do you think we should pay attention to?
I like the Innotribe concept and strongly support its activities – as the saying goes “keep up the good work!”. We look forward to an even wider participation from the industry players, and we will help with the spreading of the open innovation and collaboration concepts with colleagues in our geographical area of interest – Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.
5. Finally, are there any other things you think Innotribe readers need to know about your company or innovation activities?
We at the Sberbank Technology Research Centre are constantly looking for new technologies that have the potential to change financial services – new products, better products, better customer service, etc. We work with companies from all over the world and there is no idea that is “too crazy” for us.