Tech talk summaryCollaboration and the exchange of ideas is the catalyst for innovation, and INB continues to keep the lines open for thought-provoking conversation in central Illinois.

We recently sparked conversation by sponsoring Innovate Springfield’s recent event: Tech Talks: Emerging Technologies in Payments, Transactions, and Modernized Government. Our speakers covered alternative payments, payment processing, Blockchain technology and the confluence of how these topics affect companies.

Successful innovation centers on unique purpose and customer service

When it comes to innovation in your company, Mike Redington, director of Disney Financial Services LLC, shared that the most important piece to figure out is your Why. Then your How and your What can follow. In the hierarchy of innovation, he listed “exposure/adoption” at the base, with “company image” secondary, and “product” at the top.

Redington, who began his career as an engineer before returning to school to receive his MBA and pursuing a career in the financial sector, reminded us “there is no specific path to where you want to go; it just takes an inquisitive mind and willingness to learn.”

Disney is at the forefront of innovation and technology today, with revolutionary ideas such as the Magic Band – but even before customers arrive at the parks or make a purchase, Disney engages and excites them. This includes removing any barriers, making use easy, and empowering employees to be courteous, conscientious and to correct any issues that arise. “We know our guests and anticipate their needs in order to wow them,” Redington said.

Regardless of what new product, service or technology your company is working on, customer experience should be at the center of all that we do, he said. Loyalty to brands is decreasing, but customer service still reigns; “if millennials use a certain credit card and it is declined, they’ll simply stop using that card company.”

Innovation in payments means studying purchasing behaviors

Bob Letgers, chief product officer in global retails payments for FIS Global, a company which provides payment information to financial institutions, universities and organizations worldwide.

His first statement was, “There are two types of money in the world: money that you have (debit) and money that you don’t have (credit).”

Payment innovation involves studying data surrounding purchasing behaviors. Customer purchasing is derived from an emotional state, not cognitive, and overcoming your customers’ fears is one of the biggest obstacles to the adoption of innovation.

If something is new, its success often hinges on ease of access, speed, convenience and the self-empowerment it provides to consumers.

“I don’t want to go to the store and wait in line anymore,” Letgers illustrated as an example. “I want to go to the store and already be in line.”

Success in payment innovation necessitates that companies and business owners should be receiving updated sales numbers regularly – even hourly – in order to track what processes and methods are most effective and to mediate any issues that may negatively impact sales.

Spurring economic development in government with financial innovations

Mike Wons, chief technology officer for the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology, outlined the state’s plans to collaborate and share data among all departments to eliminate fraud and improve efficiency.

The department was formed in 2016 to create a streamlined approach to technology solutions and improve government services through technology transformation and innovative programs like the Illinois Blockchain Initiative.

Wons sees cybersecurity as the largest issue in the financial sector and believes Blockchain – a system that allows digital information to be distributed but not copied — is changing that. Illinois is currently gathering data across its state agencies and implementing new initiatives to spur economic development with Blockchain. Potentially, Blockchain may one day be used for everything from paying a parking ticket to registering health records to recording a property deed.

“Blockchain could fundamentally change the way Illinois services its citizens,” Wons said.

Thank You

Thanks to Innovate Springfield Director Katie Davison who helped me organize this event. You can view the slide deck here.