Turning Roadmap Inputs Into Outputs — Innovation Insider

As shone through in our recently launched Research and Innovation Roadmap, Productivity, alongside Open Data, Sustainability and Inclusion and Wellness are the key themes that consistently emerged as critical focus areas. Despite apparent initiative differences on the surface, these themes frequently align and are relevant across all end-markets engaged in, but not limited to, specialist lending, payments, wealth management, motor finance, property transactions, and the provision of accommodation and legal services.  

When developing these themes there was an extremely high degree of conversation on the process of maximising output, while minimising input to increase efficiency and effectiveness i.e the classic definition of productivity. 
Increasing productivity is by no way a new issue-it’s a fundamental, ongoing part of all business strategies, but leveraging technology and automation to accelerate business operations in a way that addresses interconnected challenges such as consumer support, financial inclusion and regulatory reform is the foundation of this roadmap.

Productivity can profoundly impact Inclusion and Wellness. The West Midlands is home to an established and diverse professional services market, but there are varying degrees of productivity and inclusion at a sub-regional level. Some areas, such as the Black Country, have found it difficult to break from generational financial difficulties and it’s a location where we are already working to bring together fintechs, charities, organisations, and local authorities that all have the common goal of supporting people with their financial capability. This roadmap is now at the heart of building both confidence and capabilities within our region and beyond.

Spotlight on Productivity and Regulation in Finance 

From 31st July 2024 financial services firms will have to consider process procedures that also assist  them to comply with the implementation of FCA’s Consumer Duty Act. Whether its gaps in customer data, required services for vulnerable or disengaged consumers or a review of ‘fair value’ product elements, financial services firms can expect greater scrutiny as consumer outcomes continue to be the main driver for regulation.

Typically many internal resources, or expensive external services, are deployed to address key regulatory needs, but this roadmap provides guidance and leadership for open innovation, creating ‘safe’ opportunities to engage and shape the focus of productivity on automation, data-led analytics and AI to enable meaningful responses. Example products and services that could be looked at in more detail as part of specific initiatives around onboarding and specialist lending include: automated ID verification, embedded lending and personalisation.

Unlocking Client and Case Insights for Law Firms 

Unlocking productivity and the potential value of client data is not the reserve of the law sector, but it is a sector where processes are particularly high in volume, low in data organisational management and subject to particularly tight data protection rules. Stronger data management, paving the way for better data analytics and visualisation is fueling the emergent LawTech industry with our roadmap considering use cases such as data aggregation platforms for legal firms and case management solutions. 

Addressing Intermediated Processes in Property

Buying and selling property in the UK is a heavily intermediated process, often characterised by numerous duplicated steps. Timely data sharing to avoid aborted transactions, greater transparency and education, especially for first time buyers, are key themes for further research and innovation.   

PropTech enabled productivity can directly influence inclusion with the roadmap initiatives designed to focus on data gathering and sharing during property transactions and ownership. Other areas of targeted productivity in the property service sector include predictive maintenance through developing tools such as IoT and Smart buildings. 

We are already up and running

At SuperTech we know Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) care about and recognise the benefits of enhancing the productivity of the services they deliver, but implementing meaningful change is often challenging, especially when developing alone. The above just gives just a flavour of the collaborative activity that is happening.

This roadmap is a mix of actionable short, medium and long term activities, driven by combined efforts to set a path for driving consumer and business prosperity in the West Midlands and throughout the UK-so please do get involved as we value, and all outcomes depend on, collective endeavour.

Hilary Smyth Allen, Executive Director, SuperTech;
Virtual Innovation Team Lead for Modern Services

Text reads: Locally-led Innovation Accelerators delivered in partnership with Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, Innovate UK and City Regions.

Logos include: Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, Innovate UK, West Midlands Combined Authority and Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands