How the Best Digital Bank In The World uses hackathons to replace executive training

How the Best Digital Bank In The World uses hackathons to replace executive training

Putting digital priorities at the heart of what a traditional bank does is easier said than done. At Singapore’s DBS, actions are speaking louder than the words of its rivals. Many organizations are noticing their strides.

This year, financial services magazine Euromoney is one of those that have recognized DBS, honoring it in. their inaugural pick for best digital bank. The Singapore-based DBS Bank is the best bank in digital, globally for 2016.

DBS did this through transformation that took about 7 years. Part of it was going back to the startup mentality of innovation. They took their leaders into hackathons to mingle with entrepreneurs and learn how to be efficient.

Achieving greater efficiency and customer focus is only part of the transformation battle. The big win is driving better innovation, as it leads to strategic advantage.

Cobban realized that to drive innovation within DBS, he had to change the culture. “We recognized innovation was all about culture and behavior,” he says. “So we took our leaders and put them in ‘hackathons’ with startups. Hackathons replaced the executive training budget.”

Exposing executives to the startup mentality opened their eyes to new ways of doing business – a good start, but Cobban realized he had to spread such thinking across the organization.

Once again, Cobban defied conventional wisdom: “I told our innovation team: don’t innovate,” he says. “Instead, teach the rest of the organization to innovate.”

For African banks, digital offers them the best roadmap to growth. They need to innovate and cut-off millions of wasted customer hours not just in banking halls but around the ecosystems of their businesses.

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