3 minute read 3 Sep 2018
plan creative class library student teacher ideas concept

How community collaboration can foster innovation

By

Mike Lee

EY Global Wealth & Asset Management Leader

Spirited leader for wealth and asset management. Champion for change. Driven to produce better outcomes and simplify the complex. Passionate about family, friends and sports.

3 minute read 3 Sep 2018

Show resources

Learn how community collaboration can help inform investment firms’ thinking around innovation and create stronger loyalty and trust.

I believe that today’s investment managers must “collaborate to compete” — in other words, create value through innovative partnerships with other industries. Specifically, they should pair with organizations who excel at using data and technology to gain insight into customers’ behavioral preferences and enhance their solutions.

A recent conversation over coffee with a colleague led me to expand my thinking on this concept and consider how investment firms can benefit from collaborating with a different group — their community.

My colleague, who seemed to be eyeing her coffee cup suspiciously, shared a story she had read in the news. She explained how Starbucks is soliciting designs from the public for a cup that’s easier to recycle — and will offer a $10 million grant to the winner.

This got me thinking about how similar initiatives in the investment management world could help firms to drive innovation and redefine value through community collaboration.

Diverse thinking leads to better results

Across the business world, we’re seeing growing recognition that diverse thinking is essential to better decision-making. Consulting differently with current and potential customers, along with employees, can help investment firms attract new ideas, refine their decision-making and test their thinking with important stakeholders.

Consider the fact that a growing number of organizations — EY included — are working harder than ever to unlock the creativity of their larger community, which encompasses staff as well as customers. They are hosting incentive challenges to drive innovation, and creating collaborative digital platforms meant for idea sharing and input gathering. Why not capture the insights of clients in a similar way?

A growing number of organizations are hosting incentive challenges to drive innovation, and creating collaborative digital platforms meant for idea sharing and input gathering. Why not capture the insights of clients in a similar way?

Defining value in the 21st century

Collaboration with customers can also help firms answer one of the industry’s most pressing questions: how to define “value” for the next decade.

There’s growing acknowledgement of the need to measure value in a way that captures the impact of investments on our planet and our society. EY’s involvement in the Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism is a case in point. This collaborative project represents an important opportunity to transform the way businesses measure and report on the value they create for stakeholders, ultimately aiming to restore trust in today’s society and build a sustainable future.

That is an example of a broader business initiative, but there are steps investment firms can take now to reap the benefits of community input. For example, global interest in sustainable or ESG investing is greater today than it’s ever been. Community collaboration can play a role in solving challenges such as defining more consistent sustainable investment metrics, an extremely complex task given its inherently subjective nature.

The growing ability of digital platforms to foster engagement is giving investment managers a new way to engage clients on their views and preferences. Toniic, which dubs itself a “global action community for impact investors,” offers an online platform for its members to learn, invest and engage, while Ask the Circle provides a platform for wealthy families to share co-investment opportunities and communicate with a global network of peers. Certain financial services organizations are even creating their own social media platforms to enable high-net-worth individuals to partner on investments, philanthropic ventures and deals.

Firms that create their own version of a moderated online forum can boost interactions with their clients and the broader investment community. This type of forum can in turn yield a range of valuable behavioral insights.

Summary

Consulting with current and potential customers, along with employees, can help investment firms attract new ideas, refine their decision-making and test their thinking with important stakeholders.

About this article

By

Mike Lee

EY Global Wealth & Asset Management Leader

Spirited leader for wealth and asset management. Champion for change. Driven to produce better outcomes and simplify the complex. Passionate about family, friends and sports.