Roel Louwhoff, Chief Transformation, Technology & Operations Officer, Standard Chartered

When we think about innovation and transformation, we should do this with four guiding principles in mind.

    1. Firstly, take a collaborative view of innovation across all products and services that puts the client at the center. The aim is to reduce friction and increase speed at which ideas convert into solutions. Traditional banks tend to be more product oriented than client oriented, and unlike the newer breed of fintech companies, often face the burden of monoliths and rigid components that can be over half a century old. As we navigate complex transitions in this modernization journey, institutional leadership in banking needs to play a significant role in bridging the gap of moving from product to client and working horizontally across specializations instead of vertically across individual silos within the organization.
    2. Secondly, strive to set the industry standard for robust operational, cybersecurity as well as data handling practices by simplifying and standardizing the core building blocks of our technology architecture. Observe good regulatory safeguards such as data infrastructure policies, laws, and regulations, and manage data and AI deployment responsibly. Also, even in high-income countries, regulatory frameworks are a works in progress at best. Therefore, as the sophistication and adoption of emerging technologies rapidly increases, strong self-governance is important, but also with a collaborative, cross-industry approach. Strive to see collaboration between the public and private sectors along with regulation and legislation as key to managing risk. Engagement with regulators ensures timely understanding of the evolving regulatory landscape around emerging technologies such as generative AI.
    3. Thirdly, believe in the power of partnerships, leveraging on scale and deep cross-border networks, in-country capabilities and longstanding strategic partnerships to provide clients with the right products and services, and also facilitate the cross-border flow of vital data. Data flows touch a broad range of sectors from e-commerce, finance, and manufacturing to healthcare and agriculture. They are critical to global trade and the transfer of innovation and communication between markets.
    4. Finally, build on the strength of having a diverse talent pool to set ourselves apart as employers of choice and a future-ready and sustainable organization. Focus strongly on upskilling and reskilling: an increasingly skills-based approach enables businesses to re-think the traditional construct of job roles as well as organizational and geographical boundaries. It opens up the potential that lies in upskilling and reskilling at-scale, supported by a strong learning culture. As skills are becoming a key differentiator for gaining competitive advantage, businesses need to invest heavily to enable skills-building to be personalized while remaining aligned to organizational requirements.