IT Innovation Leader
Innovation in finance? Yes.
Out of the blue one day, an old colleague called and said he wanted to talk to me about a great opportunity to work in innovation at Synchrony. I said, “You work in a bank—there’s no innovation there.” He said, “We really should talk.”
He told me that Synchrony is an 80-year-old start up that likes to think on its feet. He told me that financial technology has to keep up with consumer-facing movements like Apple Pay and mobile check out. He told me what was going on at Synchrony.
I’m glad I listened.
My job is to keep pace with change.
Today, I lead one of our Innovation Stations. In the Innovation Station, we intentionally put together people from various functions. I sit next to people from marketing, IT, operations, credit. This leads to fewer meetings and more informal conversations. You get exposure to a breadth of ideas, different sides of the business, different priorities.
The Innovation Station is focused on three things. The first is that we’re trying to push the business into new technologies and new ways of doing things. The second is that we are a key driver of agile project delivery: so instead of a big IT project that takes months to get something delivered, we break it up into smaller chunks and deliver value quickly. And the third is getting people together in a cross-functional way, spending time talking about how we could do things better.
I’ve worked at several other large Fortune 100 companies and none of them felt the way that Synchrony does. They were rigid and hierarchical. Synchrony is more of a team sport. In the Innovation Station, for example, we work together to help our community with things like food pantries and Habitat for Humanity. You learn something about your colleagues when you’re on top of a ladder and trusting them not to let you fall. The sense of community helps work get done but also makes it a great place to work.