The BAI Global Innovation Awards are designed to honor financial services companies for game-changing products, services and processes that are either new or have undergone significant improvements. Additionally, the innovation has demonstrated substantial benefit to either the organization or customer base.

Please note: ALL submissions for each innovation category must be complete and launched in the market after July 2015. All awards recognize organizations– not specific individuals.

If you’re uncertain about which category your innovation might fall under, it might be helpful to review previous innovation winners as you select the right category for your submission. You may also email globalinnovations@bai.org with any questions.

The 2017 awards will be bestowed for the following categories:

Product and Service Innovation

Products or services recognized in this category should be substantially improved (think features) or newly introduced (think brand spanking new). They will demonstrate the use of advanced technologies like A.I., data analytics and personalization to take services to the next level and provide a unique, excellent customer experience.

Examples run the gamut and can include: product bundling, pricing, personalization, simplicity, interactivity, small business, wealth or investment management, trading solutions, corporate banking solutions, robo advisors, loans, lines of credit and other.

Channel Innovation

Channel innovations should reflect cutting edge approaches to delivering an excellent customer experience and human touch across either digital or physical distribution networks.

Physical distribution networks might include branch location optimization strategies, tools and technology in-branch that improve customer verification or on-the-spot service delivery, in-branch robotics and technologic- or biometric-based improvements to ATMs.

Digital distribution networks should be strictly digital, and represent such mediums as mobile connections and apps, social banking, advances in self-service, contact centers with digital operations, API-enabled connections and remote-enabled relationship management services.

Internal Process Innovation

Innovations in internal process improvement incorporate investments in technology or other to significantly upgrade aspects of infrastructure or operating efficiencies. These are internal in nature, meaning they either enable people to do their jobs better to deliver exceptional service, or they might improve an organization’s workflows, risk or fraud management or enhance corporate sustainability.

Innovation in Payments & Wallets

Payments or wallet innovations should be industry disrupting and demonstrate clear improvement to the existing payments ecosystem, added value to retailers or consumers, solutions to problems or challenges for the merchant or consumer, or reduction of friction.

These innovations may span a broad range of areas such as wallets, mobile payments, online payments, P2P, card payments, remittances, blockchain and digital currency as well as security and fraud prevention enhancements.

Innovation in Human Capital

Human capital innovations are recognized as strategies, investments or actions taken to creatively shape the governance of an organization’s employees or programs. In short, they are HR innovations. These might entail a significant cultural or change management shift, or forward-thinking approaches to collaboration, leadership, strategy, structure, people practices, innovation management practices and culture.

Innovation in Marketing

Innovations in marketing should demonstrate original, engaging campaigns supported by cutting edge deployment tactics and techniques. These could also include content produced for niche customer audiences, clever PR and ad campaigns that capture the imagination and depict truths inherent in the customer experience or successful crisis or change management communications.

Innovation in User Experience

User experience and product design innovations should reflect the organization’s ability to capitalize on emerging technologies and customer preferences to reinvent product design, or the use of design thinking to improve the intuitiveness of product features for an excellent client experience.

Innovative Accelerator or Incubator

Many financial services organizations are forming accelerators or incubators to specialize in and more quickly bring about innovation. The Innovation Circle Judging Panel wants to know what makes your program/group unique. What obstacles were overcome to bring your incubator or accelerator to life, and what new value has it brought to the organization?

Breakthrough Collaboration in Financial Services

If two is better than one, than financial collaborators have the opportunity to take products and services to the next level in really special ways. This category recognizes a partnership providing services directly to consumers that is disrupting the industry and illustrates business collaboration at its finest to accomplish something that can’t be done by one organization alone. The innovation should describe why the collaboration was initiated and what was achieved that the financial services organization couldn’t have accomplished without their partner.

Collaborations could be between two financial services providers, a financial services company and technology company, retailer or even a regulatory body. As long as one party involved in the collaboration is a financial services organization, the sky is the limit as far as applicability goes!

Innovation in Societal and Community Impact

Innovations of this kind are tailor-made or enhanced products and services that provide new forms of accessibility to meet the needs of customers with special circumstances.

Examples could include: The removal of barriers to interaction or physical access, unlocking new financial access for an underserved population, investments in environmental or societal causes that benefit specific communities, connecting vulnerable customers with specialized opportunities, enabling a dramatic lift in the community service of the institution or even improving social and emotional well-being (for example, in times of disaster relief).

The Innovation Circle Judging Panel presents three special, overall awards to financial services nominees who submitted innovations across the 10 categories to recognize the Disruptive Innovation in Financial Services, Disruptive Business Banking Solution and the Most Innovative Financial Services Organization of the Year. These awards are specifically designated for organizations that have made considerable strides towards advancing innovation within the financial services sector.

These exceptional awards are characterized as follows:

Most Innovative Financial Services Organization of the Year

Quite simply, the winner of this Award is an organization for which innovation is a core component of their DNA, possessing an innovation framework or processes that are supported by all levels of leadership. This organization exhibits innovation through new-to-the-world products or services leading to unparalleled customer satisfaction and loyalty, while realizing significant market and business impacts.

This organization is driven by market insights, consumer preferences, and a desire to continuously disrupt one’s self to provide an unrivaled banking experience.

Disruptive Innovation in Financial Services

The disruptive innovation in financial services award recognizes a ground-breaking product, service or business model that disrupts business as usual, and provides financial products or services directly to consumers. Disruptive innovations are radical in nature and should have a global impact that reflects true industry breakthrough. For example, the incorporation of artificial intelligence or robotics to produce new capabilities, new uses for blockchain and ledger technology, implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT) or new product and services bundling are considered disruptive innovations.

Disruptive Business Banking Solution

Recognition for the Disruptive Business Banking Solution will be awarded based on the ability of a product or service to meet unique customer needs and exceed service expectations through use of state of the art technology or inventive strategies (or some combination of the two). Innovations for this overall award will be awarded based on the financial service provider’s ability to meet the needs of any business, big to small, in a groundbreaking way. This award will be selected out of the pool of nominees from the primary Awards categories.

The value provided to business customers should be clearly articulated through measurable benefits to both the financial services organization and the customer.

Note: The judges reserve the right not to extend an award if no outstanding entry emerges.