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Finance companies need to create a culture of innovation to identify the employees who will develop the next generation of services for their businesses.

This requires an understanding of how employee behaviour affects decision-making and business processes that allow the most suitable executives to thrive, according to Andy Follows, managing director of consultancy Aquilae.

He warns that “uncorrected behavioural preferences” waste resources and can lead to a risk-averse culture where the dangers of keeping the status quo are not recognised.

He told delegates at the International Auto Finance Network Conference in London: “Innovation is an outcome when we behave in a certain way, when we change things, and when we use appropriate levels of resources, and those are not default behaviours for many of us.”

You can watch key points from his presentation in a video provided courtesy of White Clarke Group.

Follows said that companies need to recognise that “maybe there are some people who are just better suited to innovate than others” and processes should be in place to identify and support them.

He provided a checklist of key questions business leaders need to ask themselves to see whether their business culture encourages innovation or protects the status quo.

This includes reviewing individual attitudes to risk and assessing whether employees are rewarded for well-run projects, even if they ultimately fail.

He added: “If you are a 100-year-old business, you are not going to turn yourself into a Silicon Valley start-up, but you can look at your culture, and at your people, and you can make adjustments to try to enable innovation to happen.”