Turning How We Innovate Inside Out
By Vanessa Colella, Head of Citi Ventures and Chief Innovation Officer, Citi November 27, 2017 05:30 PM
Citi employees brainstorming during a D10X workshop
Technology continues to disrupt established industries at an astonishing rate. At Citi, we’ve embarked on a radically different approach to innovation, both by partnering with our clients to co-create new offerings and also engaging our employees across businesses in this work. Gone are the days of companies determining on their own what products and features clients need, investing significant financial resources and time, only to learn too late that the product didn’t meet the client’s needs or the technology had become obsolete by the time it was ready to launch. Citi’s approach to innovation – called D10XSM for its focus on discovering solutions that are ten times better for clients – provides employees with the opportunity to generate and test new ideas, validating whether or not a proposed product solves a client need early on in the development process.
We currently have more than 200 employee founders actively working on nearly 100 internal D10X startup ideas, and over 1,500 employees have been involved in D10X since the internal growth model was introduced two years ago by Citi Ventures. This model for innovation allows us to embrace fast, productive failure to accelerate learning and bring much more certainty to where we should, and should not, invest our resources. Through direct contact with clients and customers – showing them a demo or having a conversation – employee founders test their hypotheses and refine their approach, sometimes finding that their idea does not in fact solve a legitimate pain point. Once an idea is validated, employee founders receive support for their startup similar that offered by traditional venture capital, including funding at various stages, guidance from a team of in-house coaches who are themselves entrepreneurs, opportunities to pitch their idea to Citi’s senior executives, and access to the broad and deep expertise of Citi’s businesses and network of global innovation labs.
ProxymitySM is the second D10X startup to announce a successful pilot in recent months. Used by key investors at four U.K. Annual General Meetings in the pilot in 2017, Proxymity has the potential to disrupt the proxy voting process by directly connecting and authenticating issuers with investors while making the voting process more efficient, accurate and transparent. For more information on how Proxymity works, check out this video.Earlier this year, we publicly announced our first D10X startup, CitiConnect for Blockchain, in partnership with Citi client NASDAQ and Chain, a Citi Ventures portfolio company. This solution, which originated with our firm-wide work exploring the potential of blockchain, enables both straight-through payment processing and automated reconciliation using a distributed ledger to record and transmit payment instructions.
These are just two examples of the disruptive, high-potential innovations and ideas emerging right now from Citi’s businesses. The creativity, expertise and willingness of our clients and employees to experiment drives this work. As we bring more successful solutions to market through this new approach to driving innovation and growth, we look forward to sharing them with you.
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