Archive for September, 2013


It took us about a week to recuperate from another “Grand Cru edition” of Innotribe at Sibos 2013 in Dubai. This edition would not have been possible without the dedication of the speakers, the production team of Georges P. Johnson, the volunteers from other SWIFT departments – we call them “our heroes” –, the Sibos team and the support of  Head of Sibos Sven Bossu @svenbossu, and last but not least the Innotribe team itself: a big thank you to all of you!


The awesome Innotribe team in Dubai, from left to right: Innes, Ashley, Muche, Mela, Ioana, Domi, Dana, Peter, and Nek.

The 2013 has been been very well covered by press, special editions of magazines like the Informilo and HP publications, the Sibos Issues editions and of course on Innotribe.com.

So, I won’t do a chronological overview of what happened in the different sessions, but rather try to synthesize the overall experience. Because that’s what Innotribe at Sibos is all about: memorable immersive learning experiences.

Our design principles were two-fold: staying away from polarizing positions, and building capabilities, especially in the area of non-linear thinking. Indeed, this approach was needed to cope with the velocity of change that we are witnessing in and outside our industry.


However, the word “change” does probably not reflect the scale and impact of what we are going through. Some our speaker-igniters called for the application of “network warfare” techniques to be able to stay agile and resilient in this environment. Others suggested that our change is evolving from simple “disruption” to plain “phasing”.

We also started measuring what is worth measuring. Robert Kennedy was quoted: “GDP measures everything, except that which makes life worthwhile”. What are the intangible assets that will help us better evaluate the full holistic worth of organizations and institutions, both internal and external intangibles? I believe we are seeing the first attempts here to start applying systems thinking in the context of the financial landscape.

Our 2013 Startup Challenge resulted in two winners to be truly proud of: KlickEx, Top Startup 2013, a regulated clearing service for Central and Commercial Banks, and Waratek, Top Innovator 2013, cutting infrastructure costs using patented Java Virtualization. For more on the Startup Challenge, see blog post by Nektarios.

As if our main Innotribe program was not enough, our team designed together a wonderful Tunnel-experience; you can really consider it as a second program within the Innotribe event.


And just to go the extra mile, our team and speakers were also involved in the design and delivery of parallel sessions in the Standards Forum, the Diversity session, the sessions for the Chairmen of the National Member Groups, and the “Young Leaders” session that is looking into the future of Sibos itself.

We must have done something right, looking at the raving comments everywhere 😉

Daniel Erasmus from Digital Thinking Network sent us a very kind mail:

“Congrats on another successful Innotribe, the maturing of the facilitation team, development of the formats and anchoring inside the SWIFT community. As always I budgeted too much time to spend the whole week with the “tribe” and loved every minute of it! Not only have you managed to make it interesting for the attendees, but also for the speakers. That is a high bar for such a salty list ;-)”

And Haydn Shaughnessy, author of “The Elastic Enterprise” commented:

“I hope you have recovered from the rigors of Innotribe/Sibos – which I found the best run conference I have attended”

Thank you, thank you for this encouraging feedback. It is the result of a year’s preparation by the team, weekly conference calls with the production company starting four months before D-Day, many prep calls with the speakers, and loads of blood, sweat and tears behind the scenes. Innotriber Dominik tweeted oh so rightly about the warzone backstage.

tweet domi




As in all previous years, this undertaking is an emotional, mental, and physical drain/test for the team. For about 10 days on-site, many of us stayed in the catacombs of the conference center from 7:30am till 2:30am. It forces the team to go through the ups and downs of working together very intensely for more than a week in the same physical space. The whole point is to go through this together. And we come out of it together, all with our own scarves and plumes. We had some guests and newcomers in the team: the impact on them is deep. But “Once been there, you don’t want to go back”. For some of us, it will be difficult to go back to our “normal” working environments. Innotribe is a drug: that is good and scary at the same time, as many of us neglect our own physical and emotional well being.

For me, it’s my 5th edition, so I know more or less what’s coming. Delivering something like Innotribe at Sibos is like giving birth to a big baby. It also comes with some form of Post-Natal depression. I coped better with it compared to previous years, but am getting aware how much we ask from our colleagues and collaborators, and that some post-event sanity is needed.

We put the bar very high. We want to let our audience discover new insights in an immersive learning experience. We want to touch people in an authentic way. We want to create intensities, insightful, rich and with serenity. We also wanted to reflect this authenticity in our closing plenary. No gimmicks, but sincere, tender, kind and humanizing reflections on a week that rocked you all intellectually and emotionally.

We believe the tone of our closing was spot-on. Testimony if this is well reflected in the article on page 8 of the Sibos Issues Wrap-Up edition http://www.sibos.com/docs/SibosIssues_wrapup.pdf:

“Okay, so it’s time for the Innotribe closing plenary, which is called ‘Around the campfire’. We come into the Innotribe Space, which is lit with a dim amber glow from above, and we sit down on one of the beanbags that surrounds the “camp fire” – a stack of Innotribe’s decision-making crystal balls. Or should we take one of the chairs circled around the beanbags? There’s faint, meditative music in the background, and on the display screens, a photograph of young boys, their faces lit by a real campfire, out late at night, sharing an adventure. This is Innotribe. Anything could happen. What happens is that Innotribe’s Innes MacLeod picks up a guitar. He strums a few notes, starts to sing. “The dawn is breaking, the light is shining through.” Mr MacLeod is a talented musician. There are crayons. Markers. Postcards. The song ends, and J P Rangaswami,  chief scientist, Salesforce, comes forward into the circle to give us his impressions of  Innotribe’s week in Dubai.”


This edition also felt different, with Matteo and Kosta not being part of the team anymore. We missed them, but are proud of the new opportunities they are onboarding and wishing them well from the deepest of our hearts.

But even without them, we are bullish about the future of Innotribe. We also want to ensure them that what we will protect and nurture the soul of what we started together. Reflecting back on the first five years of Innotribe, I would like to summarize that soul as follows:

“Innotribe’s soul is about people taking agency. Innotribe is a movement. It’s a culture, emerging from some specific behaviors. It’s a tribe of enthusiastic people hungry for change. Positive change. Not an anarchist tribe, but a tribe of people who care for the companies they work for and want them to succeed in the 21st century of hyper-connectivity. Innotribe is deeply value and purpose driven. It has an ambition for progress, looking forward. We fight mediocrity, and applaud critical thinking. Innotribe is a reflection zone. Where new ideas are tossed, curated, discussed, made actionable. We want to give the best of ourselves. For doing good. For creating human connections between people. For letting people discover their hidden talents and powers. For taking people on a path of discovery, individual and collective relevance. We want everybody in the company and industry to think, to be and act responsible to increase value and wealth creation. Moving from ego-systems and creating eco-systems filled with meaning. Innotribe is a place where belonging is more important than fitting in. Innotribe is about leading from the emergent future, in support and co-creation with our markets and regions. Innotribe is a tribe for leading by being.”

graffity team

Just after the SibosTV “summary of the week”, JP synthesized the week very well. What he had seen at Innotribe was human integration, infrastructure integration, and innovation integration.

“As human beings, we came together well,” says Rangaswami. “By the time it came to innovation, I was seeing a coming together I don’t think I have ever seen before. That suits could stand on the same stage as jeans…”

But let’s be careful not to judge our work only on these externalities, as I believe the “jeans and suites” is a signal for human integration at a much deeper level that the vestimentary one.

“There is an institutional ownership of infrastructure by the incumbent. That set of conversations seemed to involve a separation from the consumer infrastructure represented by mobile tools. We’re getting there on values and innovation, but we haven’t got there on infrastructure.”

For me, the biggest insight of the week was to see the interest of bankers in topics such as creative thinking and visual expression. Like in previous year, the critics challenged us programming this sort of topics. They proved to be wrong: there is indeed a great hunger in our community to re-connect with our wholeness, our oneness, and our full human being. We all are growing a higher sensory awareness and maturity. In case you did not know yet: bankers are humans too, and that is probably our biggest hope for the future.

Last word to J P Rangaswami with some hints for next year’s Boston edition:

“For too many years, the talk has been about the business case. There are two ways you can do this: cut costs or increase revenue. Think of the untapped markets, the financially excluded. There is an abundance of new ways to connect to those markets. Use them. Go for growth!”

empty room

As the dust of the 2013 edition has settled (above a picture of the room one day after the event, as if it never happened), the quest for 2014 has already started…

Once again, we start from an empty page, and since a couple of weeks already, the architect’s brushes and pencils are painting on the blank canvas, eager to be inspired by your feedback and enthusiasm. See you all in Boston, 29 sep – 2 Oct 2014.


By @petervan from the Innotribe team.

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