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Importance of Innovation in Finance & BarCampBank

“Progress is not the mere correction of evils. Progress is the constant replacing of the best there is with something still better.” -Edward Filene

logobarcampbank.pngTwo years ago, when we were organizing the first BarCampBank in the US, many people found it hard to believe that banks & credit unions could a place for meaningful grassroots innovation. Even crazier was the idea of organizing an unconference to begin bringing open source, transparency, identity, and community into the very closed world of banking & finance.

Since then the BarCampBank idea has turned into a movement. There have been over 14 events all over the world, and many of the ideas generated are beginning to turn into action.

To me, the global financial system is a platform that exists to “create more value than it captures”. Tim explained this in his Work on Stuff that Matters post, saying:

“A bank that loans money to a small business sees that business grow, perhaps borrow more money, hire employees who make deposits and take out loans, and so on. The power of this cycle to lift people out of poverty has been demonstrated by microfinance institutions like the Grameen Bank. Grameen is clearly focused on creating more value than they capture; not so the like of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, or WaMu, or many of the other failed financial institutions involved in the current financial meltdown.”

There has never been a more important time to bring meaningful innovation into the financial system, and there has never been more opportunity for our community to make it happen.

The next event is occurring this weekend (April 25-26, 2009) on Treasure Island in San Francisco.

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After that, the following events are planned:

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  • http://www.jimcarroll.com Jim Carroll

    Ready for financial mashups (Kleptones and accounting)

    (-;’

    http://www.jimcarroll.com/blog/2009/04/article-are-you-ready-for-fina.html

    jc

  • http://bankfit.blogspot.com Prashanth Bhat

    Sounds good Jesse. I appreciate the way you have articulated innovation. 99% of the time, innovation is linked to some technology changes like web2.0, online capabilities, etc. Actually those are just tools, innovation is the way the bank touches lives by bringing a change and in the process make a decent profit for the shareholder.