Future-proofing the company
Blockx has some specific examples of simple ideas with great potential for the group. “The first batch is actually being implemented now. One relates to web-based investing and was inspired by a technique used on Amazon; another came from a branch suggestion for digitising papers. Ideas for new insurance products, operational efficiencies and cost-savings are also being considered. The initiative does seem to have rekindled the entrepreneurial, creative spark within the business,” she adds.
Rombouts agrees. “KBC – like all businesses in the sector – is going to face many challenges in the future; competitive, regulatory, societal, cultural. We need to be equipped to deal with them. I believe that companies who are geared for constant change will be in a better position to respond and that is what we are aiming for. Initial results have been dynamic and encouraging. We can’t wait for challenges to appear – we have to anticipate and get ahead of the game. When others discover the breadth of web marketing or the importance of customer engagement – we want to be there already, doing it and being successful.”
The new PEARL programme, which is the successor to SLIM, is designed to take this forward and embed it in the organisation’s culture. It is a group-wide initiative and looks to take the best ideas from around the organisation and roll them out. “We’ve still not got consultants involved,” Blockx explains, “And there are no wrong answers – just thinking outside the box and trying things out. If they work: great. If they don’t, then back to the drawing board to come up with something else. Oh, and we have whiteboards all round the place now so that people can do just that!”