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Created on 22.01.2019 | Updated on 08.06.2021

How PostFinance is driving forward innovation

PostFinance is driving forward innovation on its way to becoming a digital powerhouse. Mathias Strazza, Head of VNTR | Innovation & Venturing by PostFinance, explains three key elements of an innovation management process that thinks outside the box.

Element 1: The process of categorizing innovations and putting them on the right track

Not every idea is obvious. Nor are they all worth pursuing. And not all ideas can be tackled in the same way. This is why PostFinance has adopted a well-structured innovation process that categorizes innovations and puts them on the right track. The financial institution generally differentiates between three horizons depending on the degree of innovation and the impact that it’ll have on its own core business:

  • Horizon 1: the projects implemented here aim to develop and improve existing solutions in the core business (for example, new functions in e-finance).
  • Horizon 2: this focuses on the development of digital solutions in the neighbouring core business that promote PostFinance’s transformation into a digital powerhouse (for example, a digital login procedure via fingerprinting and facial recognition and without the yellow card reader).
  • Horizon 3: new business areas and models outside of the current core business are developed here. These projects have an experimental or pilot character (for example, the Blockchain project “B4U” of PostFinance and Energie Wasser Bern).

Element 2: VNTR is a place, team and philosophy all at the same time

VNTR is an innovation laboratory where innovations from horizon 3 are identified and developed. The VNTR is a place with a unique, creative, open and inspiring environment. But it’s more than that, the VNTR is an organization, a structure and a team. Experiments and pilot projects focusing on future-oriented topics are supported, managed and implemented here in cooperation with PostFinance employees, as well as with start-ups, universities and other companies. Being firmly embedded in the company is also important to the VNTR – it provides workshops for other departments on various topics as well as opportunities for exchange. The innovations from horizon 3 are ideally also fed into horizons 2 or 1, which means they reach the specialist levels of PostFinance. The VNTR celebrated its third anniversary at the end of 2018.

Element 3: Collaboration with external parties to broaden horizons

To open up perspectives and find solutions beyond the company itself, it’s useful to tap into new sources. PostFinance strongly believes that drawing on external expertise enhances innovative strength. Highly promising innovation projects are identified, tested and implemented or new areas of knowledge and business models are developed in cooperation with various external partners – universities and universities of applied sciences, other companies and start-ups – and in a number of different forms of cooperation – collaboration based on partnership, acquisitions or participations. This is also known as open innovation. This involves opening up the innovation process beyond the company to explore new issues and requirements, to define possible areas of development for innovations and to derive new solutions from them.

About Mathias Strazza

Profil Mathias Strazza

Mathias Strazza is Head of VNTR. In this position he manages the three departments Innovation, Corporate Venturing Capital as well as Growth. 

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