Valley Bank is built on a foundation of more than 90 years of history, strengthened by a legacy of local relationship building, exceptional risk management and meticulous credit underwriting. This has afforded us with a reputation of trust and reliability in the communities we serve. But for an organization with a history like ours to continue to be relevant, we need to be innovative. So, we started by first innovating the way we, well, innovate.
Innovation can’t be dictated from the top floor. It also can’t be done in a vacuum. You can hire amazing people, but if they don’t have a full understanding of your business, they will likely fail in providing your company with the innovation necessary for success. That’s why it’s critical as a leader to create an environment where voices from across your organization can be heard. We call this an “Innovation by All” mentality. And over the last few years this mentality has led to unprecedented changes in our organization’s operating model and customer experience.
Challenge people to share their ideas
You need to be open to ideas from your people regardless of their role in the organization. Often, their insight can help you improve your efficiency and, most importantly, create a better customer experience.
We’ve instituted a number of ways to get people involved in building the Valley of tomorrow. For instance, we’ve adopted design-thinking methodology to help us put the customer first. Through off site design-thinking workshops, we bring together people from different departments to design solutions to key customer needs and friction points. You’d be amazed at what a group that consists of a lawyer, home loan consultant, branch manager, compliance officer, information security specialist, and marketer can come up with. These ideas help further our discussions and drive us toward new solutions.
Collaboration and Culture
Innovation doesn’t happen by a small isolated group, it grows and propagates through a culture fueled by collaboration, curiosity, and experimentation. To help guide the journey for our organization, we created a group of champions called the Innovation HIVE, which is an assembly of people from a variety of departments across the company.
Together, we discuss and gather knowledge on what will ultimately benefit our organization—from bots that can streamline internal processes to key partnerships with fintechs that could help us reach our goals faster. We challenge each other and, in turn, come to decisions that may not always lead us to the flashiest innovative solution but hopefully the right one.
Believe in “Innovation by All” and your people will believe in it, too
As a company with a storied history, the quest to be innovative can have its challenges. Maintaining core systems, responsibilities to shareholders, increased competition, and market fluctuations are all factors we deal with every day. But if we close ourselves off from new ideas, if we try and lead through an antiquated top-down approach, we’ll be just a new case study of a company that was—rather than a company that is and will be.
Valley is a bank that’s innovating for tomorrow’s customer. And we’re doing that by breaking from old habits and inspiring our team to get involved in the creation of our new tomorrow. The possibilities are now endless.
“Innovation doesn’t happen by a small isolated group, it grows and propagates through a culture fueled by collaboration, curiosity, and experimentation.”