Strategic Foresight and Innovation Management - A comparative study across international Swiss banks
Stefanie Baumgartner, 2020
Betreuende Dozierende: Marc K. Peter
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The fast-pacing global environment forces international Swiss banks to develop new ideas and innovative products, services, and processes to sustain in the long term. A structural change is occurring in the banking industry, as many smaller banks disappear from the market. Information technology, digitalization, FinTech and big tech companies are all threatening the established banking industry in Switzerland. Transformation of business models, processes, services, and products are on the agenda of every international Swiss bank. Therefore, strategic foresight is important to understanding the organizations’ customers, their evolving needs, and their changing behavior. Banks aim to provide their customers with a smooth end-to-end experience. Strategic foresight provides banks with the
necessary analysis and knowledge about future customer needs, enabling the banks to take certain decisions to be set for future change.
The research paper investigates how the incorporation of strategic foresight in international Swiss banks is executed to enhance the innovation activity of the bank. The model “Enhanced innovation activity through collaborative foresight” was defined based on the analysis of 34 dimensions identified as important in the strategic foresight process. Ten dimensions were identified as decisive for the process and were therefore crucial for model development. The model was validated in the business context through the participation of twelve high-level employees of three international Swiss banks. The semi-structured interviews provided insights into the application of the strategic foresight process in the Swiss banking industry. The findings demonstrate that most of the organizations do not have a clearly structured strategic foresight in place. Most of the organizations have implemented parts of the process into various departments, such as innovation departments or transformation divisions.
Input from the business context enabled adaptation of the model to the needs and focuses of the banks. The vision was identified as the most important dimension in the process. Additionally, soft factors such as the human factor, employee participation and the organizational culture play a decisive role in the process. The two dimensions of customer needs and the analysis of external industries also have an important determining role in the strategic foresight process and have been added based on the findings of the field research. The model “Enhanced innovation activity through collaborative foresight activities” is set up as an iterative process and is divided into internal and external dimensions. The internal dimensions are human factor, organizational culture, employee participation and management capacity while the external dimensions consist of customer needs, environmental analysis, technology, and external industries. The collaborative factor networks are added to support with a broader knowledge base. The innovation activity can be enhanced while focusing on setting the right parameters throughout the organization. The strategic foresight process enables practitioners of international Swiss banks to collect the right information about future trends and customer needs in an organizational environ-ment, which is set up to allow innovative thinking and human involvement.
According to the research findings, applying the newly developed model “Enhanced innovation activity through collaborative foresight” in organizations reinforces international Swiss banks in focusing on the decisive dimensions of the strategic foresight process and enhances innovation activity. Innovation activity is needed to remain competitive in the dynamic environment of the financial services industry. Hence, the model “Enhanced innovation activity through collaborative foresight” enables banks to focus on determining dimensions to remain competitive in the long term.
Studiengang: International Management (Master)
Fachbereich der Arbeit: International Management