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Playbook the On page of Innovation

Geeks believe among some that those with any sort of scale in financial services are allergic to innovation.

So many regulatory and compliance burdens, old-fashioned philosophies and IT systems, costs…you get the idea. It’s interesting when you consider that a whole category of innovators has sprung up that even has its own name – Fintech.

Playbook the On page of Innovation

Not for one second do I believe our scale means that we suffer from that at TD Ameritrade. I have 350 reasons why.

That’s how many teams participated this month in an event we call The Thinkoffs at TD Ameritrade. Spread across all our geographic locations and branch network, employees on those teams demonstrated precisely what it means to be a celebrated innovator. They had ideas, including some pretty brilliant ones that we hadn’t thought of yet that have the potential to make our own experiences at work or the experiences of our clients better. They were passionate enough about those ideas to submit them, make a video, and for a lucky few, stand up in front of our senior leadership team (gasp) and pitch them Shark Tank style. All for a t-shirt. And to be grilled by senior executives.

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Believe it or not, some companies do have an aversion to innovation, not by choice, but because of culture. What tends to happen in big firms is that new ideas morph into threats…to business units, careers or profit centers. Over time, passion and creativity gets choked off, and bureaucracy changes the DNA of a company. Not at TD Ameritrade. Not on my watch.

I generally don’t play defense, and innovation ought to be page one of any company’s offensive playbook. Here at TD Ameritrade we’re transforming what was a technology funnel into a pipeline of ideas. We’re rewarding brilliance and putting real money behind the ideas our employees so bravely pitch to us. We’re taking risks, trying things fast, succeeding and failing fast. And where scale might limit creativity elsewhere, we see it as an advantage. Legendary innovation + 10 million accounts + a trillion dollars in assets + leader in trading = something pretty powerful.* Playbook the On page of Innovation

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Benzinga’s Global FinTech Awards last week, and when I wasn’t geeking out in their exhibition hall, I had a chance to sit on a panel with the heads of a few other (slightly younger) pioneers in the financial space. Here’s what I shared with them – that we’re not going to be a company that just TALKS about innovation.

Why not try it- Playbook the On page of Innovation

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