Interesting year … From Moscow to New York… From “Banks for a Better World” to “Operational Forum”

Here we are mid April 2012, and I’m reflecting back on the already very rich year.

I don’t know about you – until recently when I wanted to go back in time and remember everything that happened, I would go to the Outlook calendar at work and browse through. This could be for remembering the secretaries day (hint, hint it is soon!) or for preparing my end year appraisal.

If you read this blog, you know I have picked up since some 8 months to jotting, painting and otherwise scribing – event summaries, abstract impressions of some significant moments, paintings of places I visited that I particularly like.

So as I was sitting reflecting on 2012, I figured that rather than going to the boring Outlook I would rather go to my (now very familiar and fond) sketchbook pro app on the iPad and review what I had drawn and painted recently.

So here we go.

First a a very beautiful mountain landscape in my little retreat in Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise in the french Alps – I was there in January.

Here is a painting of the Kremlin. @matteorizzi and I were there in February (cold!) for a very succesful business visit.

Here is my colleague Javier Perez-Tasso announcing a new SWIFT product on the same day Tim Cook was announcing the latest iPad 🙂

In that same week in NYC, @martinedeweird, @mela_atanassova and I were holding the first Banks for a Better World workshop. Here is what we used to kick-start the meeting.

And finally, here is an impression from another of my retreats, Zeebrugge in Belgium on the North Sea coast, pictured here in a typical April belgium weather :-).

Nice year so far. And it is definitely a more fun to remember significant events than going through Outlook…


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

Innovation shows results – the 3 babies from the Innotribe incubator

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 the Innotribe blog at

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