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MyStandards sailed away from the NYC harbor. Godspeed.

15 May

We had a great launch event of MyStandards yesterday in SWIFT’s NYC office. Lots of people turned up (I think about 80) from pilots, press, user group, banks and some brokers. The event was very Innotribe, put together by Chantal Vanes and Diane Mazzitelli. The basic pitch was MyStandards = the first product out of the Innotribe incubator. Heather (@heathervescent) even found back the castle and sandbox props for my intro speech!! 🙂

Juliette Kennel, Head of Standards at SWIFT, attributed the success very strongly to Innotribe’s support. Marc Delbaere, “the guy with the idea”, the mastermind behind MyStandards, was beaming.

VIdeos from Innotribe productions (Dominik De Buyser @ddebuyser and Kevin Johnson) were shown and very appreciated. I saw many surprised eyes (checked afterwards – positively surprised!! 🙂 ). The igniter and moderator was Luis Solis (@viralchanger) from Imaginatik. Excellent speaker, entertaining and engaging. We even had an announce from the ECB that they were purchasing a license to publish the T2S market practices.

Here is a visual summary of the panel.

I loved this quote by Siegfried Vonderau, Deutsche Bundesbank, one of the pilots: “I have my music, contacts and pictures on my iPad. Now I have MyStandards”.

The 3Ps of innovation (patience, perseverance, passion) paid off. MyStandards sailed away from the NYC harbour. Godspeed.


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This work by Kosta Peric is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


A shot of Innotribe

9 May

We had a number of requests recently about Innotribe – what, who, why, where, when?

I compiled the following links – a condensed reading that helps answering these questions. Sharing it here.

Innotribe 101

the incubator castle and sandbox story


Innovation shows results – the 3 babies from the Innotribe incubator

10 Apr

As you are reading this blog, you probably know about Innotribe.

Just in case, here a link for a quick overview. In a nutshell, Innotribe is SWIFT’s initiative to enable collaborative innovation in the financial community, and within SWIFT itself.

Since the three and a half years of its inception, the visible part of Innotribe has been on the front-end of the innovation process: the community and the network, the ideation events such as Innotribe@Sibos and Innotribe@Mumbai, the experimental approach.

With our fresh, open, friendly and neutral approach, we have moved the needle in the financial industry and Innotribe has become a brand enabling the financial industry and SWIFT to “have a seat at the innovators table” (an expression I like to use occasionally). There are nice success stories of how we have gathered innovators and generated lots of ideas.

Yet, people sometimes say: after all the dust has settled, where are the new initiatives, products and services that are coming from Innotribe?

It is a very significant and valid question – what is the value of innovation? What is the value of the brand? What is the value of my 10 strong Innotribe team at SWIFT? What’s in it for the financial industry?

I’d like to share three success stories to answer these questions and illustrate the value of Innotribe.

Before I share the stories, let me quickly explain (or remind you, dear frequent reader ;-)) how Innotribe works.

I call it “the castle and the sandbox”.

If you want innovation, it is necessary to make “space” for it. Compared to your core business – the “castle” – you need to create a space for experimentation (and yes, failure) – the “sandbox”. More on this in my previous post here.

With Innotribe, we have established the Innotribe incubator as the “sandbox”. The incubator is a physical place, a fund, a process, a governance framework, and a legal framework.   And – last but not least – the people engaging in innovation.

The Innotribe incubator is the financial industry sandbox.

Right now there are 6 projects in the Innotribe incubator. But what is most interesting is that, since it creation in January 2011, the incubator has produced 3 successful concepts which have been adopted and, for some, put in production and right now generating new revenue!

Now we’re talking business. New products, New clients, New revenues.

The 3 concepts are: MyStandards, the Startup Challenges and the EBAM Central Utility.

Innotribe MyStandards

MyStandards is collaborative web-based platform that allows for efficient management of standards and market practices across the industry.

The innovation lies in the radical change in how SWIFTs standards releases are designed and distributed. The basic idea is to apply social media tools and techniques, resulting in faster and more collaborative processes.

Another innovation is the business model of this product – a “freemium” model where the basic functions are free, and value-added components are priced when used.

Yet another innovation was also the way the project team was formed – through a SWIFT internal recruitment fair, where the opportunity was given to all developers at SWIFT to participate.

MyStandards is now a new SWIFT product, to be launched officially early May in New York and London. It has already generated several sales even before the formal launch.

Here is a link to a more detailed project profile.

Innotribe Start-Up Challenges

This is a program that aims to bridge the gap between large financial institutions and early stage (or first round) financial industry related start-ups.

Related to this, the goal is also to build an eco-system where venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, banks and start-up can explore new opportunities.

As you can see, this is not about a new SWIFT or banking product, but about an innovation to save costs by providing to financial institutions a quality selection of startups. Some institutions don’t do such searches at all – this program does it for them.  Some institutions do search the startup eco-system, at great cost  – this program reduces that cost.

Outside of these benefits, we have enabled the forming of this eco-system with the gracious help of our sponsors, so the challenges  pay for themselves.

After a successful pilot in Sibos Toronto,  we feature in 2012 three regional events (NYC – already behind us and highly successful, Singapore in April and Belfast in June) and a global final event at Innotribe@Sibos Osaka. See for more info.

Here is a link to a more detailed project profile.

Innotribe EBAM Hub

The Electronic Bank Account Management Central Utility (EBAM-CU) aims to provide an automated, multi-bank and multi-region solution to corporates managing multiple accounts in multiple banks.

The first innovation features a central utility operated by SWIFT, in a space where SWIFT does not traditionally operate.  The second innovation is in the way the product was built, in a tight co-operation with an existing player. And the third innovation, at least in this space, is the co-creation development model with tight integration with the potential users. It is expected that the operating model will be some form of co-investment with these users.

The product is in the final stages of approval by the SWIFT board.

Here is a link to a more detailed project profile.


There you go, our 3 babies! We in the team love them. But certainly not as much as the people that made them happen, at SWIFT and in the community.

Many thanks to these innovators.

And there’s a lot more in the incubator now, stay tuned. As soon as I gather some breath, i’ll blog about these as well!


(cross posted on Kosta Peric’s blog at

Innotribe 101

25 Mar

The team often gets a question like this – “I’m intrigued by the word Innotribe in your title. Sounds exciting! Can you please explain what you do?”

So here goes – the Innotribe 101 in the form of a Q&A.

What is SWIFT’s Innovation Program and strategy? How has it been built?

Innotribe is SWIFT’s initiative to enable collaborative innovation.

Innotribe enables innovation at SWIFT and in the financial industry of which SWIFT is an integral part.

At SWIFT, we started in 2009 by organizing Innovation Challenges – events where  anybody working for SWIFT can put forward ideas. The prize of the challenges is for the winning team to implement their idea. Since then, the innovation challenges and other tools have become part of the tradition at SWIFT. The innovation challenges are appreciated by staff – we typically see about 25% of the staff contributing.

In the financial community, we started at Sibos Hong Kong in 2009 by organizing the first Innotribe@Sibos- a highly interactive event where the delegates of Sibos could get inspired by industry experts and engage in ideation activities. The event culminated in an innovation award for the best idea, which was subsequently funded with a 50,000 EUR prize. Since then, Innotribe@Sibos has become a permanent feature of Sibos (more than 2,000 visitors in 2011). We have also diversified our events outside of SIbos – for example the highly successful Innotribe@Mumbai event in 2011 centered on “connecting the unbanked”.

In 2011, the Innotribe program was enhanced with an incubator – a resource for the financial industry and SWIFT to help experiment in the implementation of the ideas generated at our events. In 2011, the incubator has produced several new concepts – such as MyStandards and the EBAM Hub – which will become mainstream product and services in 2012.

Also introduced in 2011, the  startup challenge events provide a platform where banks and financial institutions can meet the startup community. The startup companies highly value this opportunity to get in touch with the financial world, while the financial institutions highly appreciate a quality selection of startup companies to potentially invest in.

Innotribe values are – neutrality, authenticity, simplicity and passion. This is reflected in many of our events – see the blog for videos and summaries. The team at SWIFT behind Innotribe is composed of 11 people, covering a wide range of skills – event design, facilitation and curation, business and technology expertise, program management, marketing. Above all, Innotribe is a network – you can easily assess the extent of it by checking out team members LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles.
How can Innovation help the community to face the challenges of the industry?

Innotribe is a forum to discuss issues and trends that are important for the community from the technology, economy and social aspects.

We bring “Igniters” (recognized experts and though leaders) in touch with the financial community, to understand, discuss and design the short, medium and long term responses to emerging trends such as –

– digital identity

– cloud computing

– social data and media

– business intelligence and analytics

– mobile payments

– alternative and virtual currencies

– new economies

– new organizational modes

– the hyper-connected generation of people

– social entrepreneurship support

Innotribe helps people to understand what is happening and formulate a response.

What are SWIFT’s priorities in terms of Innovation? What are the big challenges for 2012-2013?

We are looking to manage a portfolio of innovative projects –

– incremental innovation: develop new products and services that SWIFT can provide to the community – such as the MyStandards product going live in April 2012 (collaborative tool for designing standard business practices), the EBAM Hub product (singe window multi-bankk electronic bank account management service for corporate clients.

– new business model innovation: incubate the idea for a  SWIFT provided “financial app store” in support of the financial community – where banks, third parties and SWIFT can provide application services to the 10,000+ strong community connected to SWIFTNet

– disruptive innovation: the “digital asset grid”, a concept where banks would evolve their services to provide digital asset management products in addition to money and fund management.

What is the objective of “The Innovation Sandbox” and how does it work?

The problem in many established companies is that it is difficult to innovate as the main focus is often on optimization of processes and cost reduction. So it is very difficult for people in such organizations to experiment new ideas (which often may fail). The “innovation sandbox”, such as Innotribe’s incubator, is a place where a company sets aside resources (time, money, location, legal and brand protection) to enable the entrepreneurs in the organization to explore their ideas in a “safe” environment. Safe means that the sandbox is isolated so that failures do not affect the main company brand, reputation, and core products and business. In the case of the SWIFT Incubator, we manage yearly 6 to 8 projects, each extending from 6 to 12 months duration and from 200,000 to 1,000,000 EUR funding.

What are the keys of success to innovate in companies? How can we encourage innovative initiatives/projects within a company?

The key success factor are to –

– embrace ideas, not only from inside your company but also from outside – clients, partners, people at large. This is the “open” innovation concept, one of the cornerstones of Innotribe

– enable the intra/entrepreneurs to try and experiment in a safe environment. This is the “innovation sandbox” concept, such as the Innotribe incubator

– understand and engage with the thought leaders to grasp the deep root causes of the current changing environment. The best opportunity for that is to join us in one of our upcoming Innotribe events – see for the scheduled events.

The castle and the sandbox – how to innovate in established companies?

3 Dec

The recent SWIFT Operational Forum Europe (SOFE) ran an Innotribe stream on this – difficult – topic. Innovation in startup companies is a given, it is their nature. So how do we recreate this second nature in established companies?

The central idea that emerged is one of that we called the “Castle and the Sandbox”.

Consider the core business of your well established company as “the Castle”.

The castle is solid, with thick walls, long lived. As is your core business. But the castle is not very agile. The goal of the people in the castle is to make sure the castle serves its purpose – they are focused on optimizing, not innovating.

What do you think happens to this person when she talks to the people in the castle?

Usually, the castle people will not be very friendly to this person. IN fact – the more unfriendly the more her idea is disruptive. They might pour burning oil on her!!

“Large, well established companies face a number of inherent structural disadvantages when trying to pursue blue sky business ideas” – said Anthemis Group‘s Sean Park and Udayan Goyal. Anthemis Group is a specialist investment and holding company, focusing on joint ventures at the intersection of markets, finance and technology. One of the recent and notable investments of the group is Bank Simple (recently renamed to just Simple).

This is true of established companies, but also of larger communities such as financial services. Of course Innotribe knows that. The UK Government as well: Dr. Chris Sear, of the Financial Services Knowledge Transfer Network,  explained how this organization, sponsored by UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board,  uses the open innovation approach to foster innovation in the entire sector. We in Innotribe are ourselves absolute believers in open innovation as our key principle. But Chris also explained that when ideas are there, it is not granted that anybody will do anything with them! There’s a castle in the industry as well!

So: if the castle is not the most suitable place for innovation, where should it be? If you go back to when you where a child, where was it that you could play, experiment and do all sorts of crazy things?

The sandbox of course!

I introduced the idea of the “incubator” – a protected place where people with ideas can “play”, or to try out their ideas, without impacting the castle. Very much like the sandboxes of our childhoods. The incubator is the place where you can try, experiment, fail, try again, fail again, and eventually learn and succeed. The key ingredients for innovation.

Innotribe runs an incubator – for SWIFT and also for the financial community. I explained this program, which is funded, located in a particular place, supported by specialists and experimented people available to coach intra-preneurs from SWIFT and entrepreneurs from the financial industry. If you are interested by the Innotribe incubator or you think you have an idea that could be a candidate for incubation, please see this link.

Udi and Sean presented as well their approach to incubation, called “strategic venture acceleration” – the idea is to create a “Newco”, a venture between and established company and Anthemis Group, and drive this venture through a 3 step process extending over about a year, with a view of a clear “go/no go” outcome. They said this approach provides a way to incubate blue sky and disruptive ideas with a minimal financial risk to the investors.

Preparing for this session, the Innotribe team was thinking on how to illustrate an incubator for the audience – how to make it real for them? That’s where I thought about the Innovation Warehouse in London ( Our friend Tony Fish, a big supporter of Innotribe, invited me earlier this year to see this place, where young (and less young 🙂 ) entrepreneurs can come for office space, advice, fellow startup support. A no frills place with very little hierarchy and administration, and full of people with sparks in their eyes and passion. So we took some 45 of SOFE participants in a bus and went to the Innovation Warehouse. I could see some were kind of overwhelmed, some were impressed, and some were … getting down to business!

I’m a big admirer of Tony – a very very successful entrepreneur. But on top of that, he impressed me so much when he explained how being a co-founder of this place was his way of “giving back”. #respect

We also ran a number of workshops with SOFE participants, including the big finale one where we asked them to build their own incubator. Here is the result – and I can certainly say we learned a lot but also had fun!!!

(cross-posted on @copernicc’s blog. Drawings by @copernicc)

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This work by Kosta Peric is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Innotribe@Sibos 2011 – The Future of Money session

22 Nov

We tried summarizing this one, but it is so rich and powerful that we’re reproducing it entirely here. It is about 95 minutes long, so here are some time segments to facilitate your viewing –

0:00:00 to 0:07:15 – Intro by Uday Goyal (Founder, Anthemis Group)
0:07:15 to 0:12:19 – Fly me to the moon video by Heather Shlegel aka Heathervescent (CEO of Purple Tornado and member of the SWIFT Innovation team) – results on her research on future of money and identity. The video is also available here
0:12:20 to 0:23:31 – Venessa Miemis (Emergent by Design) – Future of Facebook video and talk (see also link to the video here)
0:20:3:32 to 0:32:50 – Stan Stalnaker (Founding Director Hub Culture) – Hub Culture and the Ven digital currency
0:23:51 to 0:38:50 – Donald Norman (Co-founder, Bitcoin Consultancy)  – Bitcoin digital currency
0:38:50 to 0:45:20 – Q&A with Heather, Venessa, Stan and Donald
0:45:21 to 1:09:11 – Brett King (Founder, Movenbank) and Shamir Karkal (CFO, Simple) – Banking 2.0
1:09:12 to 1:18:29 – Darell McMullin (Managing Director, Paypal Canada) – Paypal
1:18:30 to 1:23:39 – Antonio (Yobe) Benjamin (Global CTO, Citi) – the view from the established banks
1:23:39 to end – Q&A Yobe and Darell

Here is the video:

“Essence of Innotribe” presentation

16 Nov


I’ve just finished my opening keynote at the Finance Tech Forum in Hong-Kong, and wanted to share my presentation.

Before I do that though, I thought it requires a little bit of introduction.

The subject of the keynote Was “Technology shifts and innovation opportunities in financial services”. I’ve been thinking about it for quite some months now, and gradually what emerged is a very wide picture and summary of the technology topics of Innotribe@Sibos 2010 in Amsterdam and 2011 in Toronto.

Plus, to put everything in perspective, I used the “New Normal” concept of Peter Hinssen, and elaborated on it.

So – by this token I also wanted to thank all the numerous contributors and speakers to these events. I hope you will recognize your hand in this.

All comments very welcome.

So, after this short intro, here is the link to my Prezi presentation.


Innotribe@Sibos 2011- Big Data session summary

24 Oct

Here’s the session outline (see video summary at the end of this post)

Petervan introduced the session saying that we have some of the worldwide biggest thinkers on the subject of Big Data as igniters to this session. And boy! he’s right.

Immeditely after, Sean Park (Founder, Anthemis Group) suggested that what we’ll talk about will seem pretty much like magic 🙂 He  proceeded to introduce a fictional character, Henry, born in 2004 that we followed through his life and the way Big Data technology impacts him. Some spooky things in there, such as that analytics will be able to predict his age of death.

Sean was followed by Michael Chui (Senior Fellow, McKinsey & Company) who shared the results of the McKinsey study on Big Data. Big data matters for financial institutions where the factory is the data center. One insight from Michael is that companies will need to prepare for Big Data by nurturing the right analytics skills.

Larry Ryan‘s (Chief Technologist Financial Service Industry, Hewlett Packard) main message is that we need a whole new set of technologies to deal with Big Data. He used Zenga as an example of how they understand their customer’s behavior using analytics.

Jeff Jonas (Chief Scientist, IBM Entity Analytics Group and an IBM Distinguished Engineer, IBM) introduced an interesting metaphor – puzzles – to explain Big Data and how analytics are linked to computer power.  He first made the audience actually works on some puzzles to understand this fully. It turns out, and it is counter-intuitive, that the more data you have the less computing power you need, as the data starts in fact aggregating (like a puzzle). Beautiful and playful demonstration.

Jeff was followed by Amir Halfon (Senior Director of Technology, Capital Markets Global Financial Services, Oracle) who provided some definitions about Big Data and shared his perspective as to how these apply to today’s challenges, particularly regulation. He then proceeded to explain how financial institutions can start their analytics today.

David Campbell (Technical Fellow, Microsoft Research) described the Big Data challenge in one sentence: turning signal into value. In numerous ways. And he warned that Big Data will become vital for many companies’ survival.

Francis Martin (Head of Business Intelligence, SWIFT), introduced one practical tool illustrating Big Data – the SWIFT Index, correlating SWIFT network traffic with economic activity and GDP. He showed (and actually made people work it on their own) how this can be used as an analytical and predictive tool.

We then had Michael Driscoll (CTO, Metamarketsgroup) who also provided some useful and pragmatic advice. His key points are: ” Data is sexy!” and “Stop throwing away customer data!”

Finally, as Petervan said, we had the cherry on the cake. Michael Ouliel (Founder and CEO, Ripples HLS Group) talked about some REALLY Big Data – quintillions of data. He awed everybody. These are the volumes processed daily by the intelligence services. He then logically concluded about the importance of using semantic tools and techniques to figure out and spot important data meanings.

Below is the video with the key points of each talk.

Innotribe@Sibos 2011 – quick first report

25 Sep

Incredible week at Innotribe@Sibos.

Ideas emerged for new services (among others, the SWIFT digital asset grid – see here for a good overview), we connected with an incredible number of incredible people, we ran many excellent and packed sessions, we were the platform for several major worldwide announcements (not the least being @brettking’s launch of Movenbank and @afbenjamin’s – global CTO Citi GTS- announcements of a public API to Citi’s payments systems), we ran our first startup competition.

There’ s a staggering amount of things to report on – we’ll get to work when the team regroups after some well deserved time-offs, holidays and chill-outs 🙂

For now, have a look at this selection of early resources:

1. Search “#innotribe” on Twitter to look at the river of 5,000+ tweets generated at the event …. staggering….

2. Blog reports recap from @chris_skinner, the guy who blogs faster than his shadow 😉 – link

3. Innotribe@Sibos opening “voice of the tribe” (#emotion)- link

4. our first tribal summary video by Muche @muchedewin (feels good!)- link

5. @Heathervescent’s “Fly me to the Moon” video (world premiere at Innotribe@SIBOS!)- link

6. @Venessamiemis’ “Future of Facebook video” (from the Future of Money session) – link


Innotribe at Sibos: Social data

15 Sep

Hello, here is a preview of the Social Data session of Innotribe@Sibos.

Posted by Matteo Rizzi (@matteorizzi)

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