In this document we explain how we went from being an organization of hierarchical bankers, to a team of 16,000 systematic innovators who learn every day and believe that everyone can be innovative.
As an organization, Banco Davivienda (www.davivienda.com) has been active for four decades in building a better country. We have become a major player in the financial sector in Colombia, with products and services that meet the needs of individuals and companies of various sizes and sectors, through innovation and offers tailored to each segment.
We are a bank that was born in Colombia in 1972 and is now also present in Miami, Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica and El Salvador. Our snapshot numbers are:
(1) Earnings in USD millions
During recent years our assets, portfolio and earnings have grown significantly:
Assets (Millions US$)
Earnings (Millions US$)
1. Projected yearly with data to September 2012
Portfolio (Millions US$)
We are part of the Bolivar Corporate Group, which throughout its history of more than 70 years in the market and participation in various sectors of the economy, has sought to accompany individuals, families and businesses in achieving their goals for building wealth.
We know that the heart of our business is its people; everyone has to make decisions and execute actions, individually and as a team, and the sum of what everyone does becomes the result of the organization. Each person has tremendous potential to create and learn; each one is an inexhaustible source of value generation.
We have defined ourselves by being an innovating organization, but in the last decade we have worked to make innovation a systematic process in which we profit from that inexhaustible source of value generation. Thus we state in our mission that innovation is one of the skills that must characterize our ossociates.
To generate economic, social and environmental value in a sustainable way to benefit the community and our shareholders, employees and customers.
To achieve this, we have a team that is known for its skills in:
Knowledge of our business and our customers
Research, Innovation and Technology
How to make innovation a systematic and consistent process?
Believing that innovators are not born, but rather that innovation is a skill that can be developed in every person, we took on the task of finding a methodology to help us build this ability in people. This was how we found a company that has advised us on the Methodology, SIT (Systematic Inventive Thinking -- www.sitsite.com). The SIT methodology, which has its origins in the TRIZ approach developed in the former Soviet Union, has been widely used for the development of new products, problem solving, design strategies, conflict resolution and marketing communications. It consists of a series of tools, principles, procedures, guidelines and directives that enable the generation of ideas and their implementation at both the individual and organizational levels.
But to create a revolution in which innovation is no longer sporadic and becomes a systematic process throughout an organization, much more than a methodology is needed -- what is needed is to make innovation an organizational skill, what is necessary is to build a truly innovative culture. To this end, in addition to establishing a training axis (Exhibit 1), we developed an axis of mechanisms and organizational structures (Exhibit 2) that allows innovation to flow through the entire organization, and an axis of results (Exhibit 3) enabling innovation to become a reality that supports strategic projects in our organization.
What motivates us?
We have a higher purpose as an organization and as individuals: To enrich life with integrity. This presents us with a future full of challenges and opportunities; it outlines the purpose and the responsibility we work toward and we reach in our work and innovation projects through our day-to-day actions. To enrich life with integrity we need to be respectful of our customers, suppliers, employees, everyone we interact with, the communities in which we operate and the environment. Therefore we evaluate our projects not only on their economic value, we also take into account the social and environmental impacts they generate. This is what has allowed us to implement innovation projects with great social impact such as:
- DaviPlata (www.daviplata.com), a revolutionary electronic wallet that allows all people to manage their money for free, without having an account, using a card, coming to an office or filling out forms. With DaviPlata you may receive government subsidies, disburse employee payrolls, and send wire transfers and international remittances, among other things.
- Financial Education Portal - My finances at home (https://misfinanzasencasa.davivienda.com/), a portal built on an e-learning platform that aims at allowing all people to easily understand how the financial system and products offered by banks work, while learning through case studies and tools for analyzing situations, planning, simulating and making decisions, how to responsibly and appropriately manage personal and family finances.
- Wellness Centers – Named Cultivarte (Nurturing Yourself), these are spaces in Davivienda’s rural branches, previously untapped, now fitted to give the population a place where children, youth and adults can learn and grow as individuals while having fun.
This purpose and the respect we have for people have also led us to work with the public sector and with our competition for the common good. With the national government we participated in the Innovation and Senior Management Award, which allowed us to share our innovation knowledge and experience with the three winning entities (Mayor of Barranquilla, Mayor of Rio Negro, and Civil Aeronautics Board) and advise them in their innovation processes. We also participated with the Department of Public Service in structuring the innovation program that is being developed in the country. We have also worked with state entities so our innovation achievements become a reality. For example, in the case of DaviPlata, we worked with the government, the Treasury Department, the Ministry of Communications, and regulators, to create a regulatory framework that would allow us to expand the model as initially envisioned. In another project, to facilitate tax collection and transform it into a model of simple and efficient collection for Banks, the DIAN (Department of Tax and Customs) and taxpayers, we worked with DIAN on a new scheme now used by all banks. We have also worked with the Financial Superintendency to ensure that complaints and claims documentation can be filed electronically, which streamlines the process and helps eliminate unnecessary printing. With our competitors we have shared our methodology in innovation sessions to address questions such as: how to redefine subsidy programs, how to find the best way to improve the quality of life of members of the armed forces, and how to overcome the bad image of the financial sector.
How do we do it?
We seek consistency in what we say, think and do, which is why from the time we select our partners,and throughout the entire Human Resources process, we seek capable people, in whom we measure their innovation capability based on observable behaviors and evaluate their innovation performance. But we especially seek people with strong principles and values in line with those of the organization, to ensure we can fulfill the higher purpose we have set for ourselves.
Among the characteristics we look for in our employees are discipline and perseverance, which allow us to implement innovative initiatives and achieve the goals we have laid out. The ability to work as part of a group is also very important for us, because we constantly create cross-functional and cross-hierarchic teams, enabling us to carry out ambitious projects and improve every day.
Ability to break hierarchies
We have developed a special ability to break hierarchies. Before we implemented our strategy, innovation only arose from those we considered brilliant minds or from the first level of the organization. But since the strategy was implemented, a non-hierarchical structure was put in place in which the owners of a project, along with the Innovation Coaches, who can hail from any hierarchical level in the organization, are in charge of inviting to participate into their innovation sessions, people who can contribute from their knowledge and experience and not because of the office they hold. In the training for Innovation Coaches we transmit the importance of leading sessions according to the merits of ideas, indepently of the proposer's position or hierarchical level. Also, the methodology and training coaches receive gives them the knowledge and confidence to make this a reality. People at all levels of the organization have promoted innovation sessions in which the ideas of all participants are equally valuable and heard. For example, the President used sessions to define how he should handle the various committees of the Bank and some vice presidents have promoted internal dynamics to encourage and recognize innovation in their areas.
Our Innovation Coaches
It is a source of pride for people to be elected for the role of Innovation Coach, because it recognizes their leadership, perseverance and discipline in the organization. These persons receive training in which they are exposed to innovation principles and tools, the way in which these should be facilitated to generate innovative ideas, and how to manage groups to break through the hierarchies barrier.
When a person is elected to be an Innovation Coach, the person keeps the regular duties of his/her position and at the same time becomes a source of support for his or her area and other officers, to identify needs, plan and facilitate sessions that will lead to the development of innovation ideas.
Innovation Coaches are recognize by all people in the organization, therefore when an area or a person identifies a problem or an opportunity, they seek the help of one of the Coaches to facilitate an innovation session. Once the owner of the problem contacts the Coach, they sit down so they can understand the issue, define which methodology shpuld they use, and who should be present at the session.
We break paradigms
The innovation process has led us to question what we have and the rules imposed on us from outside, which has allowed us to modify our products and processes. For us an indispensable aspect of innovation is to break paradigms. It is also very important to be inclusive; we believe that everyone has the ability to generate innovative ideas, and the best answers and solutions are often not found in those with more experience.
An organization that learns
In the dynamics of our organization we recognize that learning is a key feature that allows each person to grow daily and allows us to improve as an organization. That's why our associates have the possibility to make a mistake without any fear they might be terminated for it , and this in turn generates confidence in them and the appropriate environment to learn, innovate and do the job better every day. Learning is also the basis for programs such as the Innovation Award, Innovation Expedition and Innovation Portal, which allow us to strengthen knowledge of innovation in our employees and share best practices present in different areas of the organization.
- Innovation Prize
The Innovation Prize is the way to recognize we designed, because it allows us to consolidate innovation achievements presented every year so these might be known and replicated throughout the organization. It also allows us to recognize and motivate officers and work teams who have led innovation in the organization and further to strengthen the innovation culture we have built during this process.
In the Innovation Prize we recognize some group categories (Customer Experience, Efficiency, New Product Development, Synergy, and Branches) and some individual ones (Best Project Owner, Best Innovation Coach, and Best Vicepresident), because we consider innovation is possible thanks to teamwork, but we also recognize that leaders are necessary to push it.
To participate in the Innovation Prize, the persons or work teams who consider they achieved innovations that broke paradigms and had economic, social and/or enviromental impact for the organization, nominate their projects through the Innovation Portal. All projects received are evaluated by a technical commitee composed of the Bank's Vicepresidents, which is in charge of selecting the most innovative achievements to be presented and argued before an external jury. THe external jury is empaneled each year with people from the public and private sectors, who we invite based on their experience and relationship with innovation, and who select the winners; in this way we guarantee that the evaluation and selection of the winning projects is transparent and objective.
Keeping in mind that Innovation is an organizational skill, we wanted the recognition that the Prize winners received to be in line with the creation of an organizational skill, and allow the participants to strengthen their innovation knowledge and become inspired to coninue innovating. For these reasons we created the Innovation Expedition, an experience in an inspiring place in Colombia, in which the participants have the possibility of attending conferences with innovation experts, working with the comunity, and experiencing life events belonging to the regions they visit.
To the date, we have had two Expedtions, one in the Amazonin in which we had experts on biomimetics participating, and another in San Andres and Providencia, where the expeditionaries had the chance to share their experiences with entrepreneurs in the region. In 2013 we will carry out our third Innovation Expedition, which will take place in the Coffee Region.
- Information System
To support the innovation strategy, we have an information system located on the Bank's intranet, the Innovation Portal, to which all associates can gain access to share their implemented achievements, send the Innovation Managment their observations and concerns, request help in their innovation process, and consult the methodology, the achievements implemented by others, the Coaches network, news relating to our innovation strategy, advice and material to prepare innovation sessions.
It was also important for innovation to create a common language in which we all understand that innovation means implemented achievements and not ideas, that for something to be innovative it has to break a paradigm, and that it must generate positive impacts in the economic, social and/or environmental aspects for the organization and/or one of the Bank’s stakeholders.
Disseminate and involve the entire organization in innovation
We trained Innovation Coaches in all branches of the organization and gave them the tools needed to bring innovation to their areas; we also generated a recognition scheme that reinforces every persons need to create new things and constantly improve themselves.
Overcoming resistance this type of change may generate
To overcome this resistance we established two principles:
- Do not force people to be part of the process; work always in a "pull," never a "push" mode
- Work with the people who like the subject and let the rest of the organization become interested in innovation through the successes and the results shown
Additionally, from the beginning we had the support of the President of the Bank, who by means of facts and his own example conveyed to the highest levels of the organization the importance and contribution of innovation.
To overcome this challenge several elements have been helpful:
- The message communicated in different training events regarding the benefits that breaking hierarchies can bring to the organization.
- The tools and training received by the Coaches, which give them the elements and confidence needed to guide the discussions according to the merit of the ideas and not the rank of those proposing them.
- Training people to be Coaches according to criteria related to their skills ans characteristics and not according to the person's hierarchical level.
- The attitude assumed by the vice-presidents showed staff that they were willing to work with people of different levels and gave an example to others in the highest levels of the organization so they too were willing to work within a scheme that breaks hierarchies
To know and make known what innovation is for us
We created a common language across the organization, and transmitted to all staff that innovation must meet three fundamental characteristics:
a) Achievements implemented, not ideas
b) Achievements breaking a paradigm for the areas and the organization
c) Achievements that generate economic, social and/or environmental impact for the Bank, its officers, and in general for our stakeholders.
With this process, our employees have been able to see and experience that innovation is not something that only a few geniuses can do, that it is possible to innovate in their daily tasks and improve each one’s work. They have found in innovation a strong motivating force: many staff members have experienced the satisfaction of realizing a challenging achievement that no one thought possible at first.
The organization is now much more dynamic because not only a few persons are responsible for introducing or modifying products, services and processes--we are all responsible. This has led us to experiencing an important growth in recent years and to achieve an important positioning in the market (as evidenced in the figures shown in relation to our organization).
With our innovation model we have positioned ourselves in the country, and for this reason our officers have been called on several occasions to share their experience with innovation in talks and forums.
In addition, with the implementation of innovative achievements we have had results such as:
- With DaviPlata, as of December 2012, after a year and a half of operation, we have 850,000 customers, of which close to 460,000 did not have any relationship to a bank and now have access to the financial system; more than 1000 companies are disbursing their payments; there were 14,238 humanitarian incentive payments for support during the rainy season; 5,000 soldiers received their paychecks through DaviPlata in 2012; and since the launch of the free money transfers campaign (August 2012 in mass media) 108,000 such transfers have been made for more than 25,000 million pesos. In addition, Davivienda won the bidding for managing the payment of 920,082 subsidies under the "More Families in Action" program of the Department of Social Prosperity, which provides financial support to the poorest families in Colombia. This last achievement will allow Davivienda to have a presence in more than 380 municipalities in Colombia, of which 191 are new to us and 119 currently have no banking presence at all.
- Prior to the implementation of the double barcode for tax collections we experienced losses of $ 8,000 million pesos a year for that service; with the implementation of this initiative, the Bank does not sustain losses, and has savings of $ 10,000 million a year. Likewise, the Colombian financial system will have about 90 billion in savings per year by using our innovation. Additionally, taxpayers will have greater certainty and precision in presenting their obligations to the government and can get a reduction of time in the confirmation of their payment of tax obligations from 8 days to 1 day.
These are just some examples of the innovative achievements we have implemented and which have allowed us to stand out in the Colombian market. We have put in place many other achievements since we started working with innovation in a systematic way, and these have impacted us and the community around us.
- Innovation is not something that only a few can achieve or that requires geniuses; there are methods that allow all people to find innovative solutions to problems.
- A key requirement for innovation is the implementation of ideas.
- Innovation is not only achieved through new technologies; we can use what we have to implement innovative achievements.
- Innovation is not limited to a course; it transcends that and demands its development as a skill.
- Innovation requires the hard work and effort of a team to generate ideas and to carry them out as achievements implemented.
- To achieve such change in an organizational culture, it is essential to have the support of senior management.
Attached are the three exhibits we talk about in the case and three videos: One about how people in the organization sees and lives the innovation process, another about how the 2012 jury in the Innovation Prize saw our innovation process, and an example about a product/service we created with our innovation process.