One of the leading regional banks of Germany turned to HRpepper for support in radically rethinking its direction for the future.
The entire financial services industry is currently facing major challenges in terms of its markets and performance. The loss of trust in banks, the changing preferences of clients, regulatory interventions, and the weak interest rates are just some of these many challenges. Many regional banks also suffer from smaller or larger homespun flaws. In response to that situation, our client developed a new vision with a new twist on its core brand values and a new self-concept. This re-alignment means far more than a mere marketing ploy for the bank: It is all about change in culture and mentality. The bank is truly reinventing itself.
A change campaign of this extent and intensity can only happen if the many relevant activities are aligned correctly and a convincing strategy is chosen. The bank’s board decided in favour of a courageous and unconventional approach: In addition to traditional instruments of vision development, strategic executive development, and professionally managed public events, the initiative relied on a new participatory innovation and strategy process, as outlined in the process overview:
The purpose was to develop concrete innovations for the issues of most relevance for the bank: financing, social networking, current accounts, and all-finance services in a cross-hierarchical and interdisciplinary team. These ideas were then screened, selected, and put to the test. In a total of six workshops per focus issue, the innovations were further finalized, leading to a complete set of 501 innovations that were constantly developed and tested. In addition to traditional facilitation methods, this relied on selected means of design thinking and future workshops. A general task force was also tasked with more universal questions for the innovation teams and the realignment of the bank. The following illustration showcases the focus topics for the sessions:
The first results were presented to the project team and executives in two dedicated events, which led to the bank’s managers not yet involved in the project to catch the spark. The final activity of the innovation teams was a joint strategy session with the bank’s board and supervisory body. The innovations screened and cleared in that session were being rolled-out in a regular project arrangement.
For the regional bank’s top executive, the approach has achieved two distinct goals: “First, the specific innovations put actual flesh on our strategy. Second, the manner of the process itself has helped establish a new culture of cooperation: People are open and dedicated and fight for the best ideas across hierarchical boundaries. This is an astonishing achievement and breathes real life into our vision.” In the future, a similar interdisciplinary project organization will be maintained in parallel to the regular line management structure to keep the bank agile and innovative in its response to the challenges that lie ahead.