Inventing a helicopter from looking at dragonflies

Ceri Godwin, Director of Growth & Advisory, EmTech, Santander UK sat down with us after the FinTECHTalents Steering Committee ‘donuts & danish’ breakfast this summer. Here she talks about FinTech for good, ‘out of the box’ thinking and her dream ‘fireside chat’ guest. Watch the video now.

What is FinTech for good?

For me it’s the democratic creation of wealth and well-being for customers. Boundaries blur with collaborations. It allows us to create an effective network that we can co-create. We can grow for mutual efficacy and this can extend to many many areas. That could be digital skills collaboration with schools or communities. Recently, Santander sponsored school of code which allows people who’ve never considered a career in technology to actually complete a three-month course that gives them an entry level into a career they previously haven’t considered.

What skills does financial services need?

Principally, diversity of thought and that includes both skills, imagination and ideas, you absolutely need resilience and creativity. You very much need an insatiable appetite for learning because with topics like innovation nobody has the answers going in. During, and often coming out of the process, you also need very well-rounded individuals with curiosity that will pick up and run with anything from building a proposal to technology to actually dealing with the financials, which has to kind of underpin and wrap everything together.

Is financial services guilty of lacking out of the box thinking?

I will turn it on its head because banks have a very traditional, very historic view that’s commonly held across the economy and also across most communities and people’s perceptions. I actually think we surprise most people when they come into our doors particularly as interns or apprentices and actually see how creative we are as institutions. We’re constantly looking to go the extra nine yards for our customers.

If you could sit down with anyone for a fire-side chat, who would it be and why?

It will be Leonardo da Vinci principally because he never had to choose. I don’t know about you but all the time when I was growing up you either did languages or sciences or arts. I think what he absolutely nailed was he was an artist, he was an engineer, he was a scientist and probably the world’s greatest innovator. He had an amazing way, he looked at the exquisite reality of life and re imagined it in so many ways. Whereas if you look at his paintings, his frescoes right through to how you can sit and invent a helicopter just from looking at dragonflies is absolutely incredible.