Thinking like a start-up

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Creating an open innovation platform outside the bank might sound tricky, but we pulled it off! By definition, banks are risk-averse – it’s an obligation imposed on us by lawmakers and regulators. That’s why it makes sense to look for potential beyond the confines of the bank, which is exactly how Econic came into being in Eindhoven. We’re so excited and proud to have succeeded.

As bankers, we take responsibility and give talent a chance to develop. Frans Cuppen Portret Frans Cuppen Directeur Commercial Clients

Econic offers innovative disruptive companies – mostly start-ups and scale-ups which can add value for our clients and for the bank – a platform to accelerate innovation. Many of these companies have already brought a proven product to market, but are looking to expand their client base. And ABN AMRO has clients in spades. Econic beautifully brings together supply and demand through what we call “outside-in innovation”. That said, we do “inside-out” development, too. Bank staff can also join Econic – for instance, Corporate Banking staff eager to develop their own ideas are welcome, and it’s great to see how involved they are in the platform. One reason I personally enjoy Econic is that the environment it offers is so energetic and inspiring.

No limits

A brainstorming session at Econic starts with one rule: no limits. That’s because it’s all about discovering what ideas will work. They don’t necessarily have to be financial in nature either. In fact, we try to avoid using the words “bank” and “fintech” in order to encourage people to think freely. For me, it’s important that staff move with the times and are clued into the real world. Let’s be honest: the number of jobs in the banking sector is shrinking, not growing – and I’m concerned about that.

It’s up to us to take control of our future and be prepared for the trends of tomorrow. Take our contribution to the circular economy, for example – the reuse of products and raw materials is crucial. ABN AMRO can play a role here with the new products and services we’re developing at Econic. I think that’s fantastic.

Spot-on analysis

A tech company called ID Nxt recently got in touch with Econic to share a very innovative idea which involves replacing all the cards in a person’s purse or wallet with a single bank card. Every debit, credit and loyalty card is captured on just one piece of plastic. Another company is Clear Productions, a start-up which makes data-driven predictions. We decided to take them up on their offer and organised a test with our call centre. Based on the data we provided, they were able to predict the volume of incoming calls at any given time with over 99.5 per cent accuracy. That’s spot on. They can also use data to predict bankruptcies or to determine which companies are thinking about taking their business to another bank, for instance.

All about image

Lots of people have the wrong impression of what it’s like to work at ABN AMRO. They think it’s a dull, conventional organisation. But I’m proud that we at Econic have been able to update that image. We’re an organisation that takes responsibility for our own future and gives talent a chance to develop. It’s a place where people are encouraged to think like a start-up to help come up with the right solutions. How cool is that?


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