A start-up incubator from Standard Bank – we need more of these!

We’re in desperate need of a drastic technological leap forward. Let’s be honest, what have we actually done in the last few years that has just catapulted us into the next stage of the human race?

Think about it – the splitting of the atom, internal combustion in Engines, Steam Engines, Nuclear Power… hell Electricity and Computers! What is our generation going to be remembered for? Yeah, we’ve built on great ideas but have we truly changed the course of history?

Maybe not. But no one can say we aren’t trying!

I love innovation and I love companies and organisations that are constantly pushing for it. Despite your feelings towards the blue bank’s service, Standard Bank leads the banking sector when it comes to finding great ideas and implementing them.

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Did you know Standard Bank was the guiding force that powered SnapScan and helped it enter the market? Or that they partnered up with MasterCard to bring us MasterPass? They were also a leading partner in the Matchi Global Fintech Innovation Challenge.

Now I know that by supporting innovation Standard Bank simply gains more income streams. It’s business and I’m actually completely okay with it if it brings things like SnapScan (which I think is a rather useful app) to the market.

Building on the idea of innovation, Standard Bank has introduced a dedicated innovation lab dubbed the PlayRoom. Based in Jozi, this space is meant to unearth innovative ideas and collab with staff, clients and start-ups.

It’s a bit like a start-up incubator that are all the rage in Silicon Valley (really, when I was in San Francisco last year I met a 19 year old who ran one. Took it very seriously). In short, it’s a place to research and test new solutions and just bounce off ideas. Customers can use it as a space to bounce ideas off their bank (or moan, if that’s your thing). There is a testing area for customers who can then feedback to banking staff. Start-ups can go in and pitch ideas or ideal banking solutions. If it is a successful innovation, Standard Bank is promising not only to reward it but also implement it.

They’re already used the Playroom to test the bank’s new Internet Banking site which should be launching soon.

So why am I telling you all of this?

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Because if you have a great idea you should try achieve it. If you have, what you believe, is the solution to a problem then implement it. Don’t ever hold back. The PlayRoom is just one place where you can turn those bright ideas into something tangible (and pay your rent… which is always a bonus).  We need more of these to pop up in corporate offices.

We asked Standard Bank how customers go about using the start-up incubator. This is what they had to say:

Our current process involves recruiting customers based on certain criteria. Over the next few months, we will be expanding the recruitment process through the use of social media and our innovation platform, IdeaSpace, to ensure that we get as much feedback and collaboration with our customers as possible, enabling us to provide solutions that effectively and efficiently meet their needs.

I'd love to chat to you some more.


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