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The sensory world is but an image of the world of ideas

The sensory world is but an image of the world of ideas. 
(Plato)

How many times, while doing your daily tasks, have you taken a deep breath and asked yourself and your colleagues in a weary and woeful voice, with a hint of disbelief and irony: “Do we really have to do it this way? Can’t this procedure change so as to make the client’s life and our life easier? The clients are quite sensitive to such demands from the bank. If we want to keep the client, we have to adapt our procedures. I don’t know how to do it at the moment, but there has to be an easier solution to this?”

How many times have you observed the needs of your clients, noticed their problems and found a way for the bank to help them, grow closer to the client and establish stronger relations, but that terrifying thought “How can I present this to the management to be taken seriously?” keeps obsessing your thoughts and slowly clipping your wings by the minute; your enthusiasm plummets while you’re drinking your morning coffee, and you finish your meeting with the client by saying: “I’m sorry, but that’s out of my reach and I can’t help you.”

How many ideas, how many imaginative concepts occupy your mind related to new products that the bank could use to expand its product portfolio and become a market leader before someone else makes use of those ideas and the fame they bring?

I could – but, fortunately for you, I won’t ☺ – go on and on with examples of all sorts of situations that bank employees encounter daily and that require a transparent, direct, easily accessible and quick contact with the management so that they could address all their ideas in an adequate and timely manner and receive requisite feedback in an appropriate period.

Imagine a tool for managing innovations in the form of a social business network where the majority of employees are active, and which the bank uses as the basic ground for idea management. How much would the bank, and the employees as well, benefit from such a tool? LMI (Like My Idea) is an innovation management tool that utilizes all the collaborative advantages of the Connections business social network and the business process management (BPM) platform, designed exactly for the needs of adequate idea management and, most importantly, to encourage and develop the culture of ideas within a corporation. If a “light goes off” in an employee’s mind at the end of a hard and exhausting work day and he suddenly figures out how to change the existing procedure to benefit both the bank and the client, he can use LMI to present his idea to all the bank employees who share the same interest. Through communication with the client and getting to know the client’s environment, some new lights might go off as well, and the employee can avail himself of LMI to suggest the development of a new product that would meet the client’s needs, strengthen the relationship between the client and the bank, and, finally, yield more profit for the bank.

Once the employee musters courage and becomes sure that his initiative will add value to the bank, he reports his idea to LMI with a big smile on his face and big expectations, and while we muses on the management’s praise for such an excellent idea, he welcomes the client, who has just entered the bank visibly upset, by saying: “Good morning, tell me what is bothering you, I can surely help!” ☺
Yes, LMI encourages enthusiasm among employees because they can use LMI to quickly and efficiently present their ideas to their colleagues and to the management. It enhances the bond between the employee and the bank since the employee feels that he directly contributes to the growth and development of the bank. But it doesn’t stop here. In order to ensure an adequate filter of the ideas that will, in the end, reach the management, LMI enables the interested community to vote for each idea. For example, all employees in the SME sector can vote for an idea of a new product in that sector. Furthermore, LMI enables you to set a threshold – the total number of votes of all employees within a segment or sector who share the same interest; only ideas that pass the threshold are classified as those that will be forwarded to the management of the bank for approval. You can follow up on the activities of employees through the points they receive, so that the most active employees – those that get the most points and have the best ideas – can be adequately rewarded for their innovation and contribution.

The benefits LMI brings to each corporation are evident. Bank employees are motivated since they can take part in the creation of new products and services and suggest ways to enhance the efficiency of specific processes within the bank, that is, to put their ideas forward in a transparent way, knowing that other employees, and potentially the management of the bank, will evaluate them, and that they will eventually be adequately rewarded for their contribution. On the other hand, the management of the bank is happy to have another channel for a bottom-up approach to managing business processes and to development that ensures the fastest transfer of information from the market, suggestions for the improvement of existing processes and new ideas to the management.

We can now go back to the title of this article and think of ancient Greek philosopher Plato, whose entire philosophy was based on ideas. Plato considered ideas to be the only true reality, whereas the sensory world around us was only an image of the world of ideas. Plato went on to claim that ideas formed a motive for the existence of the world. What did he mean by this? Plato thought that the world we see and feel was based on inherent motives that differed from man to man. But in order for a motive to originate, it had to be preceded by something, and that something was an idea. Yes, Plato thought that it all began with ideas. So if a bank aims to be competitive and efficient, to have the latest banking products and services, satisfied employees and clients, it must have an excellent idea management process to build its own “reality” on, that is, a business environment in which all the stakeholders are content. LMI enables the creation of such a “reality”.

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