25 May 2017

Innovation Essentials: In Conversation with Christophe Chazot

Watch this series examining top tips from leading innovators in the financial industry on how to make innovation a success. This week: Interview with Christophe Chazot, HSBC.

“There is no recipe for innovation. Every organisation needs to find its own way to develop innovation,” declares Christophe Chazot, HSBC’s Head of Innovation. “The structure of every company is very different, and this is particularly true for banks. Each bank is trying to address inefficiencies or internal challenges in a different way, but they all aim to achieve the same objectives: How do we open ourselves up more to innovation, and how do we deliver better service to our clients by constantly innovating?”

What works for HSBC is a combination of strategic vision, digital internal developments, partnerships and investments in startup companies. HSBC is using digital technologies to achieve three objectives. Firstly, it wants to perform simpler, better and faster for the ultimate benefit of its clients. Secondly, it aims to connect more clients to more opportunities through HSBC’s digital network, reflecting the origins of HSBC’s 150-year old trade network connecting Hong Kong customers to Europe. And thirdly, HSBC wants to achieve all of this in a secure manner.

There is a lot of talk about people leading a better, healthier life, but not enough on how people can lead a better financial life.

Christophe Chazot, Head of Innovation, HSBC

From a strategic point of view, the HSBC Innovation team has two main roles: analysing new technology trends, business models and their impact on financial services; and taking minority stakes in companies that are strategically important for the bank. HSBC has committed USD 200 million capital to that investment capacity. As part of its activities, the team also fosters the participation in accelerator programmes at HSBC to identify young startups that could either help develop new businesses or increase efficiency within the bank. 

There is no recipe for innovation. Every organisation needs to find its own way to develop innovation.

Christophe Chazot, Head of Innovation, HSBC

Chazot reflects upon the fact that when industries become more digital, very large networks are then created and controlled by only a few large players. “Size is one of HSBC’s advantages; we are large enough to have the capacity to invest in these new technologies which require huge amounts of research, investment, analysis and experimentation. However, large companies may find it more difficult to innovate compared to small, agile companies; they are complex and the initial impact can appear small. So size is our greatest opportunity, but also a challenge.”

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