When’s the last time you came across something you felt was truly innovative? Something that made you realize, “Wow, that is really different and helpful!”. Innovation has become such a buzz word these days, especially in the technology sector where we work. In many cases, innovation is associated with game-changing, category-creating ideas like the iPhone or Tesla electric vehicles.
I think that’s unfair. Something can be considered innovative simply by improving on what already exists in a way that’s meaningful to the user. Let me share a practical example.
Zipper lock enclosures have been around for a long time. Sandwich and storage bags have used them for years to keep our food fresh. But have you ever struggled to line up the grooves just right in order to start the zipping? Or had the grooves get gunked up or wet, so they don’t stick together? These little inconveniences wear on me to no end. Call me crazy, but I expect things to work just the way they were intended.
Enter Press-Lok® from VELCRO®. My life changed when I discovered Press-Lok® on our family cat’s food bag. I know…being struck by innovation while feeding your cat may not be ordinary, but I have a radar for this stuff. Press-Lok® eliminates the need to line up the grooves, instead it uses the two familiar VELCRO® strips that you just smash together. And if crumbs get in the way, VELCRO® does what VELCRO® does….it just grabs and sticks! It still gives you that same satisfying, reassuring feeling as zipper locks do of knowing the bag is secure. I even love their marketing, “an easy open and close system that won't make you fight for a victory.” Bravo VELCRO®!
How do I relate cat food bag enclosures to the work we do at Avoka, you’re wondering? Our Transact software platform isn’t intended to completely reinvent digital account opening and onboarding. Customer onboarding in banking is too regulated and complicated for a complete experience overhaul. Avoka excels in leveraging specific, incremental improvements to simplify an applicant’s digital experience. The Avoka Exchange facilitates the piecing together of leading fintech solutions to improve the application experience. For example, if we can design simpler, faster funding of a new checking account, allowing the customer to start using their account immediately, that’s meaningful innovation! No more waiting 3-5 days to confirm those annoying micro-deposits. Or imagine pre-filling fields in a credit card application using your mobile phone carrier account details, or social media profile data (with your consent, of course), slashing the time needed to complete the application. This reframes the tedious online form submission process of old into an integrated, modern conversation that respects the applicant’s time and privacy. These “innovations” may not be on the level of powering your home by the sun, but they still reduce the effort and time required to get a new bank account. That’s innovation to me.
Many innovative ideas solve problems you may not even know you have. Those are the best…and the most satisfying to experience. They often creep up on you when you expect it least. Like when feeding your cat at 5:30AM on a Tuesday.