Making Innovation Happen in a Regulated Firm

Technologists, like me, enjoy the challenge of making something new out of some old and ignored data they found lying around. However in a regulated industry how do you actually get that into the hands people who can derive a real business benefit? Below is my own take on the innovation process. I’d like to really stress the fist step – at some point you are likely to want to do something new with data and unless you have data protection, compliance and the right business people on-board it will be a struggle. I hope it goes without saying this is a process that needs to run continuously and repeats, with different activities at varying stages of maturity through the process.

Innovation Flowchart


Throughout the innovation process there are a number of contributors to success that always need to be considered and addressed:

Senior leadership buy-in: senior leadership need to make their support of innovation known and encourage firm-wide participation.

Funding: allocate a portion of IT and business budgets for R&D and the production of innovation proposals.

Competing initiatives: access to firm-wide and local forum which may be independently adopting innovative technologies

Finding opportunities and choosing aligned activities: adequate time and attention from mid-senior level managers and leaders.

Sourcing ideas: mechanisms to promote innovation and gather ideas from the practitioners. E.g. internal social media, newsletters.

Visibility: having somewhere people can go to see ideas, our latest thoughts on technology and active initiatives.

Recognising the contribution of staff: staff managers must be appraised of the importance the firm places on innovation.

Global business and cultural differences: opportunities for networking across the firm to build relationships and understand other groups’ perspectives.

Data protection and other regulations: data protection and compliance teams should have/create a process for the use of real data in PoC scenarios.

No ivory tower: employees tasked with driving and innovation should be integrated in broader teams and support ‘BAU’ work

Promoting innovation by celebrating success: internal and external comms teams can help write, edit and distribute stories and case studies.

Data Quality: a continuous programme to asses and improve data quality.

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