🐝Buzz off, buzzwords | How we stay innovative at Fidel
When you work in fintech, 'innovation' is a word that’s batted around more often than a tennis ball at Wimbledon.
Make no mistake, it’s become a buzzword - there’s no escaping it, guys. We know this because the phrase is used often, without really implying a clear meaning. Is it inventing something completely different? Is it about re-inventing the old? Is it when you set something on fire? Actually, no, that’s immolation. 🔥
The point is, sure, we’d love to be able to inject a hefty dose of ‘innovation’ into our business and watch it spring forth like a majestic unicorn of a company we want it to be. But innovation isn’t an ingredient of success - it’s a mindset that facilitates it.
At Fidel, we see innovation as exhibited by a ‘culture of refreshment’. Whether the focus is tools we use, markets we enter, methodologies we apply or the organization as a whole - it’s about not being attached arbitrarily to fixed methods.
Empowering innovation means saying no to bad habits, inefficient work streams or the restrictive demands of legacy systems. By encouraging a mindset of regular refreshment, we’re more likely to welcome creativity and inclusion into the workplace, where new ideas are perceived as opportunities, instead of potential threats to the status quo. Over time, this all produces a more efficient, clean and harmonious business, that can adapt easily when it needs to.
💡A Bit of Context
If you’ve read about our approach to collaboration, you’ll know our culture is a huge part of Fidel and something we’ve cultivated over time. Like any growing start-up, things can move at a fast pace, therefore we can’t settle for ideas or methodologies that don’t suit our changing needs.
Innovation presents itself in all types of verticals too, anywhere from product road-mapping, to internal processes, to high-level strategy formation. Taking initial ownership of innovative ideas can be relatively easy, but maintaining that leadership in an environment of many competing needs can be challenging. So, we never stop thinking about hitting the next level, collecting new data or experimenting with new solutions, so that way we can try to stay ahead of our own expectations.
🔑Our Key Approach to Innovation
🎬Setting the tone | Starting with setting a clear vision can be extremely beneficial and promote focus and clarity from day one. At Fidel, empowering innovation comes from the top and allows all team members, no matter their department, to bring ideas to the table that might sometimes agitate the waters but will align with the company goals as a baseline.
🐑Avoiding conformity | You won’t hear phrases like “that’s how we do it around here” in the Fidel offices. We don’t settle for processes or methodologies that are only based on preconceived legacy ideas. For this, we periodically collect and act on feedback (check out ‘How we listen’ for more on that!), but we also try to provide the structure and resources to help us all avoid conforming to one-size-fits-all policies. A good example of this is how, at the end of each quarter, we’ll collate our findings to identify internal pain points - and try to find innovative solutions to mitigate them. For that, all stakeholders involved are called into action. The diversity of our team contributes to the common different points of view and refreshing ideas.
🏛Putting bureaucracy aside | We work hard to maintain a flat structure where we can - even during periods of growth - to avoid bureaucratic obstacles. That doesn't mean we aren't serious about our processes - we’re very careful in the way we set them up, in order to avoid decision-making ‘bottlenecks’. We try to make it as easy as possible to kick off new initiatives or make operational improvements and changes thereby enabling innovation to flourish without barriers.
🌈Hiring for diversity in team | We’re really proud of our diversity. One of our biggest hiring priorities is embracing diversity through anonymous applications and reviewing procedures. When it comes to innovation, diversity of background and experience is incredibly important. It introduces different points of view, working cultures and approaches to challenges that arise. Diversity means more than basic equality of opportunity to us, we look to hire a diverse range of personalities, methodologies and fields of experience, too.
Being a fast paced startup can bring many challenges, but one we don’t have to worry about is a lack of innovation or empowerment in our teams. We believe that progress takes time and effort, but it also takes constant measurement and reflection.
At Fidel, we keep our eyes on our company goals and our efforts focused on how we can get there in easier and more innovative ways - whether it’s a product, a feature, a feedback process or internal reporting. It doesn’t matter - the mindset always remains the same.