Is social / ethical the new „innovation“ paradigm

In a recent office coffee break I got into an interesting debate with my dutch colleague. And I don’t think hisImage position was founded on recent international soccer results. He was thinking about the Financial Services industry and innovation. Obviously, I responded directly with our social & ethical agenda. And his intellectual reflexes fired up: „Well social and ethical is all fine but it’s just one of many aspects. I’m looking at something we can commercialize.“

While I appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit of that statement I’m more and more convinced that these two paradigms do not only grow ever closer together – I’d even stress that you cannot be commercially successful in the Finance industry if your agenda, your objectives and services aren’t ethical.

Ok, dream on some of you might say, there’s enough money and investors and banks out there that thrive on arms deals, commodity (as in food) speculations and ecological disasters throughout. And while that is a fact, I also observe retail clients who become ever more observent about where they put their money. And companies and NGOs which track these shady deals and make the public aware of them. And who is working within Financial Services that wouldn’t have crept back on a decision or proposal due to „reputational risk“.

So what’s your verdict fellow reader & debater. Can you be innovative in the Financial Services industry without acting ethical. Or isn’t social and ethical a mandatory baseline on which you can build innovation and success…

Happy to hear examples and use cases for both views….

Tom Debus (@tomthebuzz)


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