State Street Finds Internal Social Network Sparks Innovation - InformationWeek

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State Street Finds Internal Social Network Sparks Innovation

David Saul, chief scientist of financial services firm State Street, tells InformationWeek Leadership Summit attendees that companies must tap their employees for innovation, or they are wasting resources.

Financial services organizations searching for the next big thing should be tapping their employees for innovation. David Saul, senior VP and chief scientist at State Street, delivered that message at the InformationWeek Leadership Summit Tuesday during Interop New York.

"The best source of ideas is your entire company. If you are not tapping into the ideas of all of your employees and contractors, then you are wasting [valuable] resources," Saul said during the panel discussion "Real World Innovations: The Ups and Downs." He reports to State Street's CIO, but his full-time job is focusing on innovation, encompassing "where we are innovating and where we are not innovating."

One of the things State Street did to spark innovation was to create an internal social networking environment where people could share ideas and ask questions. The global custodian, with $28 trillion in assets, uses Microsoft SharePoint internally and was able to leverage it for the social network. It went into production last April. The network began as a proof of concept for 200 users and then was expanded to 30,000 employees immediately. State Street tracks its usage; about two-thirds of the company uses it on a regular basis. He said that actually exceeds what it saw from other companies.

Saul dispelled the myth that innovation is all about ideas. "By definition, innovation is really about delivering results, and this can be incremental improvements to a system or process, not necessarily disruptive technologies."

He outlined four steps on the road to innovation.

Read the rest of this story on Wall Street & Technology.

Ivy is Editor-at-Large for Advanced Trading and Wall Street & Technology. Ivy is responsible for writing in-depth feature articles, daily blogs and news articles with a focus on automated trading in the capital markets. As an industry expert, Ivy has reported on a myriad ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Ninja
10/4/2014 | 1:44:22 PM
Re: Innovaytion Can Be Incremental
it's great to have ongoing/in place collaboratio and "listening" facilities in place in a company. Their use can wax and wane, but with the support of senior management, they will be helpful. SharePoint is well-suited to this task in a MSFT-based enterprise.
Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
10/3/2014 | 3:53:25 PM
Re: Competition
Of course, if you're using the Sharepoint solution or other internal social platform to collaborate, then it's presumably being recorded which subject matter experts you contacted, when, and about what.
Drew Conry-Murray
Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
10/2/2014 | 8:29:45 AM
Re: Competition
Having a platform to share ideas is one thing, but culture also plays a crucial role. How are new ideas perceived? As a potential threat to someone's position? As something to be stolen w/o credit being shared? And how is failure tolerated? Innovation is risky, and if people don't feel that the organization actually encourages risk, just having a social network isn't going to get you very far.
Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
10/2/2014 | 12:31:46 AM
I know of SO many companies that have internal social networks -- that nobody uses.  And yet, these same companies are trying to be more innovative.

They could start by talking with stakeholders to get people to use the internal solutions!  Geez!
User Rank: Strategist
10/1/2014 | 4:30:56 PM
Innovaytion Can Be Incremental
@Ivy: We often think innovation is only about The Big Idea, so I am delighted to hear David Saul share what I have long believed: That some of the most remarkable innovative thinking happens every single day in small ways IT when someone findes a new and creative way to solve a problem. 
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