Four days, ten thousand participants, two hundred thousand conversations: one key lesson Collaborate, innovate, adapt for a payments infrastructure that serves all

1 November 2022

The opening keynote by Swift’s Chairman and their CEO ultimately gave out one simple message: in times of change we must collaborate, innovate and adapt. More industry mambo jambo? No!

It was and is clear, banks need fintechs and fintechs need banks and all of us – consumers and businesses alike – need access to banking services and payments. Around the world we move at different speeds and around different needs, or at the very least different cultural flavours of needs. So yes, collaboration is the only way forward. Existing infrastructures need simplicity, start-ups need to wrap their head around complexity. We need both experience and fresh thinking.

We must innovate, do things differently, not just for a different outcome, but also in a more sustainable and progressive way. Not merely replacing old with new, soon to be ‘newer old’, but less dependent ‘new’, more ‘intelligent and learning new’.

And yes, we do need to adapt. We must take off our ‘Velcro’ trousers and replace them with trousers that enable us to sit on different seats, look at issues from different perspectives, rather than preserving and protecting what we know and do.

At Icon we took a good and earnest look at all this and share our intense optimism with you. As an industry we can do this. We can innovate and not throw everything away. We can collaborate as leading tier one banks can transform their payment centres of excellence into ‘business service centres’ for smaller or niche banks. Money on the table for everyone and the end customer benefits.

We can innovate by moving forward and decoupling the masses of rich functionality (and we add way more than we bin as an industry) from their underlying technology. By truly embracing all this new tech in a new way: by building infrastructure that empowers banks, rather than making them supplier dependent.

And finally, we can adapt. And the beauty is, that massive step starts by something totally within our control: our mindset. If we move out of ‘let’s run the payments line as efficiently as possible, let’s tick all the boxes’ towards ‘how can I build and learn to grow my own payments’, there is no limit to what we can do as an industry. The technology is now here to do that today. It is just a mindset on our side. Rather than demanding the supplier to do it all and ‘hold them to it’, we can evolve towards true collaboration turning our own super talent inside the bank and tech company into powerhouses that switch systems on, not off.

So yes, we do believe in payment greenhouses, hotbeds of innovation that bring the old world into the new. Where you transition at your pace, not the vendors’. Where you depend much more on the people you choose to put on your team, where you grow your own payment products, rather than wait for their roadmap to deliver. Where you re-use all that data and where a connectivity focus reigns. To connect with clients and partners of today, and the ones you recently met at Sibos.

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