Royal Bank of Scotland and Domino’s reveal their secrets to innovation success

RBS and Domino's on what it takes to innovate

Royal Bank of Scotland and Domino's recently offered their top tips for innovating within a business.

At Innovation Social’s recent Innovation Stories event, Royal Bank of Scotland’s head of open experience, Kristen Bennie, and product owner at Domino’s Pizza, Sara Canavan, took to the stage to share their experiences from within their respective organisations.

Royal Bank of Scotland

Bennie has spent the past four years at RBS, taking its innovation arm, which was housed in the basement of a disused data centre, into a new space at its Edinburgh headquarters. Called Open Experience, it launched last year with a view to helping all areas of the bank develop new solutions. Here’s her advice:

Don’t innovate in isolation: “We need to be in the heart of the organisation and embrace the 80,000 people that work there. We've done a lot of good work [in that data centre] but it wasn’t good enough to innovate at scale and have real meaningful impact.”

Innovation needs to be managed: “In a large corporate there needs to be a whole programme within innovation and it needs to be carefully nurtured and managed. It needs executive sponsorship.”

Good ideas are plentiful, but good execution scarce: “There are no shortages of ideas; so it’s not the what, but the how. RBS has done ok, but we could do better in the execution space and that’s something we’re working on.”

Know where you want to play: “Think about what innovation means for you, are you going brand, tech, business model…doing an exercise around what you view innovation as it really important”

Bring people together for success: “It might sound obvious, but in a massive organisation with different agendas it can be hard to bring people together. We ask people to leave their day jobs and move in as a resident in the space for 10 or 12 weeks and focus on the challenge we’ve been set.”

Dominos and We Are Social

Dominos and digital agency We Are Social worked together on the pizza maker's first Chatbot (named Dom), which launched last summer. Here are their top tips for getting a chatbot off the ground.

Be brave: “We have always been interested in innovation and responding to customer needs. But it’s not always about knowing how to respond, but about being brave and trying out things," said Dominon's Sara Canavan. "We do these things because sometimes you are in the right place at the right time, but sometimes you get so many learnings from just getting out there are trying it.”

Chatbots have feelings: “Chatbot projects are led by developers, not copywriters and the problem is that brands are not managing the expectations of chatbots and consequently they are coming across as a bit rubbish,” said We Are Social’s innovation director Tom Ollerton. “If you start talking like a brand you’ll becoming annoying really quickly. Think copy first, not code. The technical barrier to entry is low which means that everyone is getting in on the game. But I would urge you to always think about the copy.”

Create the character first: "Create a character that is believable enough and charming enough that you’d want in the news feed. ‘Dom’ was not just a list of characteristics," said Ollerton. "The tone of voice had to be energetic, simple, playful, to the point, tongue-in-cheek. We reimagined what Domino’s social media posts would look like if Dom had written them. It was about making sure the messaging was consistent and would be welcomed by the user.”

Don’t let the internet beat you: “Anyone who’s worked in an agency for any length of time will know that someone will try and break [the chatbot] and do whatever they can to make the brand look stupid," added Ollteron. "So, we thought about what would happen if someone started swearing, teasing or being mean to Dom. We created a Google doc of comebacks which 150 people in office added to.”

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