“SEO is a marketing function for sure,
but it needs to be baked into a product,
not slapped on like icing
after the cake is baked.”

Duane Forrester

Pymnts.com Innovation Project and Awards 2013

We’re only halfway through our first day at the  Pymnts.com Innovation Project and I’ve already been inspired enough to write something up. In what feels like a short morning (it wasn’t, breakfast and registration began at 7:30), a sterling attendance of top executives and heavy hitters in the payments industry have heard from an exciting number of influential thought leaders and innovators.  The headliners include the Treasurer of the United States, Rosie Rios, former Vice President, Al Gore, and “The Oracle of Omaha,” billionaire businessman, Warren Buffett.

The focus of the conference is simply innovation in payments. Karen Webster, the CEO of Mobile Platform Dynamics and President of Pymnts.com, began the day with a reflection of what innovation means. The word innovation stems from the Latin word innovare which translates to “renew or change.” Whether that is making a process or tool easier to use, more efficient, more accessible, or more effective, innovating is improving the ways we as humans operate.

 

Warren Buffett amended in his interview that while some innovations are monumental in changing the landscape of a specific industry, some falter because they are not easily adopted. He mentioned that an important part of innovating is still giving the consumer what they want. Consumers are key and the best innovations build or improve on popular and common consumer behaviors.

Mr. Buffett’s interview motivated me to consider Waspit and our Banking 2.0 solution. While some functions are completely new and original, many of Waspit’s features simply improve on utilities that people already use on an everyday basis. Take, for example, our Split the Bill function. While peer-to-peer money transfers are nothing exceptionally new to payments, Waspit’s Split the Bill extends the technologies used in P2P transfers by identifying a specific transaction and allowing users to send money to multiple users at the same time. This function in particular is innovative because it is renewing the way people split a dinner bill, something we already do but now can do even better. With this feature (and many others of the Waspit platform), we have identified a specific problem and offered a solution – something that I feel is key to innovation.

Going forward at the conference, we are eager to hear much more about new advancements in the payments industry. Even though a number of our competitors sit among us, these next few days we are all students in innovation and participants in a larger discussion about managing money. Well, at least until the award ceremony come Thursday night!

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