Innovation jam breaks boundaries, crosses borders

By : Nora Chisnell

October 14, 2015 10:14 PM

Teams from across the business and around the world came together for an innovation jam this fall.


This was no ordinary innovation jam with dozens of developers hacking to solve a single problem over a caffeine-fueled weekend. Rather, financial services staff from a variety of NCR and Digital Insight (DI) teams and functions, including sales, marketing, customer care and IT, came together from far and wide to brainstorm and develop prototypes for new solutions and functionality that would solve a pain point for financial institutions and their customers.


Teams hailed from offices stateside in Georgia and California as well as Scotland, Bangalore, and staff who work virtually. Their mission was to identify a pain point or frustration and develop a solution using complementary products from both NCR and DI, or work on solutions that would help expand globally. Of the many ideas submitted, they were initially narrowed to the top 10 by a panel of peers and judges. Then in the final round, the first, second and third place inventions were selected as winners by a judging panel of NCR and DI leaders, as well as representatives from financial institutions.


“Innovation has always been at the heart of Digital Insight [and NCR],” says José Resendiz, Chief Innovation Officer for Digital Insight. “It is a big part of our culture and I am so excited to see our employees across all functions and teams embody this spirit.”


Ideas came from such sources as a participant’s own experience – like the difficulty of making international payments, to using the Idea Tank submissions from Digital Insight customers for new products or functionality.


All participants used the Design for Delight (D4D) methodology that includes the following principles:

  • Deep customer empathy –Walking in customers’ shoes and experiencing their pain points and frustration
  • Go broad to go narrow – Not limiting initial ideas to one or two, but pushing to get more outside-the-box possibilities before narrowing to one potential solution
  • Rapid experimentation – Quickly developing a modest prototype and observing customers using it so you can swiftly know whether to persevere or pivot.


In just two weeks, teams brainstormed ideas, drafted problem statements, developed prototypes refined their inventions and prepared them for the judges. Employees trained as Innovation Catalysts facilitated the ideation process and coached teams on how to successfully innovate using the D4D methodology.


The highlight for many of the NCR teams was speaking directly with financial institution customers – representatives from financial institutions who had expressed interest in seeing very early stage ideas. The teams then incorporated this feedback to improve their ideas and refine their presentations.


The participants shared their inventions during a Gallery Walk across all sites, including virtual employees. The judging panel, comprised of leaders from NCR and DI as well as several financial institution customers, used the following criteria to select the winners:

  • Create an experiment, gather customer feedback and share learnings
  • Deliver a working prototype
  • Solve a problem that financial institutions and their customers have that causes pain or frustration
  • Create a DI-NCR integrated solution


The invention that won first place is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Banking solution that uses voice recognition technology to integrate with DI services, and demonstrates banking transactions with voice commands.


The second place invention went to a Customer Retention/Predictive Analytics product that analyzes customer data to begin creating predictive models of consumer behaviors, as well as integrating with data visualization tools to present reporting.


Third place was a tie between an idea submitted by the Archers team and the Smart Referral solution. The Archers created dynamic templates for financial institutions and consumers to easily reconfigure the online banking user interface. Smart Referral integrates with several sharing platforms for consumers to easily refer potential clients to their financial institution and even receive rewards.


All of the winners are currently in the internal review process for submitting patent applications and receiving prizes. Several of the solutions may be added to a future strategic roadmap.


Innovation is one of NCR’s shared values, and while these inventions are exciting, value-added solutions for our customers, NCR has a proud 131-year history of delivering disruptive innovation.