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December 2, 2013updated 15 Aug 2022 3:02pm

Don’t just sit there – innovate

It's time for less talk and more action on innovation

By Grant Collinson

You may well be reading this on a plane because conference season is in full swing.

Since I wrote my last editor’s letter many of you will have been in London for the first Leasing Foundation conference, in Rome for the Leaseurope Convention, in Orlando for the ELFA conference, and by the time you read the December issue we may well have shared a word or two at the Leasing Life Conference in Berlin.

Aside from a lot of the attendees, something common to all three past events (I made it to London and Rome but rely on informants for Orlando) is a lot of talk about innovation.

Innovation sometimes seems like the leasing industry’s favourite topic.

Having listened to many a presentation on the topic, scribbled notes on a host of discussion forums on the subject and commissioned and edited several articles on the theme, the thing that strikes me is this: there is an awful lot of talk and not a huge amount of action going on.

Everyone agrees innovation is necessary and important; it has the power to grow business and propel the leasing industry to the very forefront of business lending. But there is less talk about how exactly this is going to happen.

Amid all the talk of "how do we define innovation?" and "developing an innovative culture" where is the "here is a way the industry can improve?"

Even the esteemed chairman of Ferrari, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, who addressed delegates in the opening session in Rome, could only speak in the abstract. His presentation was entertaining, insightful, even inspiring, but lacked any prosaic description of some of Ferrari’s recent innovations, how they came about and how they were implemented.

It is of course much easier to say "let’s innovate" than to start innovating. It’s easier still to write a short editorial in a trade magazine saying "start innovating". But I don’t have to come up with the ideas – I’m just here to write about them.

And, not to be completely negative, there has not been a complete dearth of practical suggestions this conference season.

At the Leaseurope event, the Future Group presented three genuine ideas – and those were just the top three from a pool of 16. Clearly there are ideas out there – indeed, the Future Group itself was an innovative idea from the Leaseurope Business Council and the fruits of its practical application have already ripened and been picked.

There were a few practical ideas from the session led by Artti Aurasmaa of 3 Step IT too, but perhaps the most vital message was from Artti himself as he urged the audience in much the way I am trying to do here.

There are already innovative ideas out there and there are people in your business bursting with new ones. It’s time to stop talking about what innovation means and start innovating.

Grant Collinson,

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