The four people who ruin innovation in fintech & banking

Innovation is fun. Except when these types are around. How many do you know?

Four-People who ruin innovation

The Hypemaster


The Hypemaster is, well… a master of hype. Everything they’re working on is amazing, and you must absolutely drop everything and check it out. Right now! “Hey we’re getting ready to launch Hypemaster.io, check it out and let me know what you think!”

I love meeting new people and seeing new ideas, even though I usually don’t have a lot of free time to look at a stranger’s project and give them a bunch of free advice. But I try to be helpful, so sometimes I do it, if the approach is right.

The Hypemaster doesn’t respect your time or your own commitments, and they really don’t even want your advice anyway. They just want you to promote their link on social media, or worse, ruin your friendships by introducing them to other people. Their project descriptions are stuffed with enough buzzwords to make Dilbert’s pointy-headed boss jealous. “We are radically disrupting this vertical with a full stack digitized approach to the blockchain, with fully-configurable architecture and a lightweight contextualized interface”.

Natural Habitat: Startup Conferences, Conference Apps, Twitter DMs, LinkedIn InMails

The Innovation Snob


Nothing is cutting edge enough for the innovation snob. 3D Virtual Reality? Yawn. It’s been done already. Self-driving car? The Innovation Snobs claims to have been into them 10 years ago, but it’s too mainstream for them to bother with now. They think Elon Musk’s rockets are too similar to what NASA did in the 1960s.

Continuous improvement and incremental innovation are an important part of keeping a company growing, but they are nothing but eye-rolling material for the Innovation Snob. Solving real problems that paying customers care about is the true heart of innovation, but the Innovation Snob only wants to see something they have never seen before. Preferably on a touchable hologram emanating from a smartphone that hasn’t been released yet.

They also think they are the only ones entitled to an opinion. Everyone else is a pundit, armchair quarterback or wannabe, they’re the real deal, damn it.

Natural Habitat: The Bar after the Conference, Finovate Twitter Feed, Facebook Comments.

The Disruption Denier

The Disruption Denier is the 180-degree polar opposite of the Hypemaster. NOTHING is impressive or impactful to them. All of the good ideas are already taken. Anyone with a new idea is simply a charlatan trying to separate you from your hard-earned money. They’ve been there, done it, got the T-shirt, and knew better the whole time. They also know far better than you now that your new idea will never work. They’ve tried it before. Didn’t work then, won’t work now.

Disruption Deniers think they alone have figured out how the world really works, and that the current state of affairs is permanent and unchangeable. Worse, they sometimes are even convinced that some previous era was actually the ideal situation and that most progress made since then is regrettable.

Sometimes this perspective comes from a comfortable perch built from doing something that did indeed work just fine in the past. Usually though, it really just comes from a dark and bitter place where they just don’t want to accept their own failures, so it makes them feel better to lash out at others, usually through drive-by assaults in the comments section.

Natural Habitat: Mid-Level Management, Golf Courses, LinkedIn Group Comments on Others’ Posts

The Chameleon

This person can be hard to spot. They might seem at first to be a Hypemaster, singing the praises of the hottest piece of technology, especially if it isn’t exactly brand new. At other times, they may appear to be a Disruption Denier, clucking at some previous market darling’s fall from grace. They gyrate wildly from pro to con, and from fanatic to critic.

They were the first to tell you how excited they were about the Apple watch when it was announced;  but now that their friend is less than enamored, they tell everyone how much it sucks. All through secondhand knowledge, because they won’t buy their own until Version 5 comes out.

The chameleon has an incredible ability to blend into its immediate surroundings; sensing the environment around him and adapting to it quickly and without notice. Apparently, the price for this superpower is a lack of original thought and reasoning ability. They do, however, possess 20/20 hindsight.

Natural Habitat: Company Lunchrooms, Cable News, Facebook, Twitter (main feed)

Everyone around you is either helping you get to where you are trying to go, or they are not. These people definitely are not. You can’t always pick your boss, your coworkers, or a lot of the other people you come across daily, but your innovation efforts will improve if you get rid of these people.

And you’ll have a lot more fun.

This article originally appeared here. Republished with permission. Submit your copyright complaints here.

Author avatar
JP Nicols

Bank innovation consulting expert JP Nicols has been internationally recognized as a leading voice for innovation, strategy and leadership for the future of financial services.

JP is a trusted advisor to companies from startups to the Fortune 500, a popular writer, a top rated speaker, and is often quoted in the press on video and in print. He has been named to several lists as an influential thought leader in financial services.

A former senior bank executive, JP is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Innosect, a Silicon Valley based global innovation enablement and analytics company that has experience helping over 200,000 people contribute to projects and campaigns that have generated over $400 million in value.

He is also the co-founder of the Bank Innovators Council, an independent global membership organization with members in 65 countries that promotes and supports innovation in banking.

His work has been featured in some of the industry’s top publications, including American Banker, The Financial Brand, BAI Banking Strategies, Investment News, Bank Innovation and many others. Read more here.

Before his work in bank innovation consulting, JP served in various leadership and innovation roles at top financial institutions, including as the first Chief Private Banking Officer for a top five U.S. bank. He is an instructor at the Pacific Coast Banking School, and he serves on the advisory boards of NextBank USA and Advizr, and previously served on the advisory board of Balance Financial and as Vice Chair of the board of Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart.