Welcome to the Innovation Room, our monthly series aimed at tapping into the expertise we have at TD Bank to better inform, innovate and inspire both our customers and colleagues.
In an ever-changing world, knowledge is power and it's just as important to share expert insights with consumers as it is to deliver legendary products.
John Thomas is TD's Global Head of Innovation and is a perfect example of TD "tapping" into his unending wealth of knowledge and expertise to not only advise and educate, but to make people think about the world and its landscape from a different perspective.
While the average consumer might think of the Head of Innovation as the man or woman behind the curtain pulling the strings on the latest apps or newest technologies for major companies like TD, John says his role also involves the daily "how" question.
"How do we create the next thing?" he says is often a more important question accomplished innovators need to ponder than "what" is the next thing.
If you get the "how" right, the sky is the limit and innovating becomes more scalable at major companies.
"[Then] you can do more and more of the 'what's' and do them more quickly and more cheaply," he added. "A big part of innovation is the process of innovation."
This includes the "way" you use technology to change and evolve so that companies get "better and better and better" at finding solutions, not just new technologies.
Innovation = Problem Solving
With all that said, it comes as no surprise that John sees innovation simply as problem solving, not just capability.
"I prefer innovations that start with customer problems or challenges," John explains.
The idea is to start with an obstacle and reverse engineer the solution, seeing what technology is needed along the way rather than just creating new tech for the fun of it.
It's really a throwback to a process that has suited companies and their consumers for decades.
"I don't think innovation is necessarily about technology but often enabled by it," John said.
But this is JUST the beginning of our fascinating dialogue with John.
Next month, we'll dive into the often-daunting world of social media to look at why consumers are seeing what they see on various platforms and even how to change those feeds.
In essence, we're going to reverse engineer the social media process and even take a look at our digestion habits.
It's a topic you won't want to miss! See you then!