How BPAY Group creates an innovation mindset

- By Collaborative Media & Publishing
Most companies claim to be innovative, but going beyond the claim to create a genuinely innovative culture is another thing altogether.

BPAY Group set out to create an innovative mindset among its staff about four years ago, when the organisation started undergoing its transformation. It wanted to take on some of the attributes of a nimble FinTech to adapt to the rapid changes in financial services and technology.

“It’s giving people permission to actually be curious, to challenge things and look for better ways of doing things. It's about having an open mind, being open to possibilities and thinking about how we can continue to improve,” says Lucy Lithgow, Chief People Officer at BPAY Group.

It sits nicely with BPAY Group’s purpose – to make life simpler – because achieving that often requires innovation.

The first step in creating an innovation mindset was changing perceptions of what innovation actually is.

Making life easier

“Initially, most of our people just assumed innovation was about product design, or the products or services that we offer our customers,” she says.

“At the leadership team level, we decided that if we were really wanting to drive an innovation mindset, then we had to let it be known that we value innovation, both big and small. Whether it's product related, or about making life easier via automation, or a process improvement. We wanted to open it up for everybody.”

The company has introduced a range of initiatives to promote an innovative mindset.

Innovation metrics are tracked in the BPAY Group balanced scorecard and reported to staff on a quarterly basis, and managers are encouraged to include them in people’s performance agreements.

Lithgow includes some innovation metrics for her team, such as the need to put forward two to three recommendations that save money, or make life simpler, and have a positive impact on customers.

Her team, along with others from across the business, recently came up with a solution to help  manage what it calls ‘accolades’ – formal recognition of above and beyond performance aligned with BPAY Group’s values. Staff can be gifted with a reward of between $20-$300. While team members love them, the expense reimbursement and reconciliation process was anything but easy.

The solution was an app, which draws on the data already in the BPAY Group system and lets individuals keep track of the accolades they’ve been given, and to easily submit an expense reimbursement within minutes. The reconciliation process in the background has also considerably simplified things for the Finance team.

It goes back to the notion that innovation isn’t just about revenue generating products and services. The accolades app isn’t going to generate any money, but it does save time and improves BPAY group employees’ experience at work.

Empowering staff

BPAY Group’s approach to innovation dovetails with some of the company’s values.

One is “minds wide open” where leaders are encouraged to create an environment where people can be curious and have some time out to explore possibilities and where ideas aren't shut down.

There is also “better together” – working together, being respectful, giving people the opportunity to present ideas.

The company also holds Innov8 Days, where staff form teams and tackle a customer pain point. If their solutions are worth pursuing, then they are teamed up with an innovation coach to help them develop it further.

Innovation carries obvious benefits for the business – new products that can generate revenue or help the business move into new markets, or process improvements that can save time and money for the company.

But Lithgow points out another benefit: empowering employees. “Knowing that they have the opportunity to actually add real value or make a difference by being able to be curious, challenge the way we currently do things and make suggestions, it's extremely empowering,” she says.

BPAY Group also has an Ideas Bank. People are encouraged to enter their ideas into the award-winning Innovation Platform and from there, they are partnered with an innovation coach to work on their idea.

The numbers reveal just how far the BPAY Group has come in its journey to create an innovation mindset. In the last financial year, 129 ideas were submitted – not a bad effort from an organisation with 122 employees. Of those ideas submitted, 61 were implemented with an estimated value of over $600,000 to BPAY Group and its customers, and 19 have made life simpler, reduced risk or had a positive impact on the company’s reputation.
 
Published by BPAY Pty Ltd (ABN 69 079 137 518) email: marketing@bpay.com.au. The BPAY Scheme is managed by BPAY Pty Limited.  When you use BPAY payment products, the BPAY Scheme is paid fees relating to processing costs and BPAY Scheme membership.  Contact your financial institution to see if it offers BPAY payment products and to get the Product Disclosure Statement.  Any financial product advice provided by BPAY Pty Limited in relation to BPAY payment products is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Before acting on such advice, you should review the Product Disclosure.

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