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An illustration shows people in a variety of interactions in the workplace.
An illustration shows people in a variety of interactions in the workplace.
Innovation
April 7, 2022

Wells Fargo’s Innovation Challenge seeks to find game-changing ideas and technologies

The Wells Fargo Innovation Challenge invites companies to develop innovative solutions for the next big shift in the financial ecosystem.1

The Innovation Challenge is a unique contest, which serves as  an immersive collaboration between various companies, innovators, creatives, and Wells Fargo, designed to explore and deliver a more approachable and equitable banking experience for what’s becoming an increasingly interconnected world. Companies who have an innovative idea or technology, whether it be physical, augmented, or virtual, are encouraged to apply for the opportunity to participate in this Challenge.

“Through this Challenge, we aim to find solutions that we can integrate into our Wells Fargo environment that will make banking easier and safer for our customers and the financial services industry at large,” said Madhu Narasimhan, head of Innovation.

The Challenge seeks to advance the most relevant and innovative ideas and spur new solutions that could revolutionize how we serve our Wells Fargo consumer and commercial customers, and ultimately the financial services industry.

“We heard from all the venture capitalists we talked to that nobody has ever done something like this before,” Narasimhan said. “Entrants will get a ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ And if you’re a ‘yes,’ we’re going to collaborate to make sure that you build something that works for our customers and, therefore, you’re going to have a chance to create a viable product at the end.”

Creating a multi-X future

Traditionally, financial experiences and interfaces are primarily designed for solo play, but increasingly we are interconnected with others in our financial journey. At Wells Fargo, we call this the multi-X future — creating a more dynamic environment for our customers.

Chintan Mehta, chief information officer and head of Digital Technology & Innovation, said Wells Fargo’s generative research pointed to a future of banking that’s both increasingly networked and niche.

“We all believe collectively that the future of financial services is going to be heavily dependent on a network of different things that happen around us,” he said. “What we want to be able to do is add those services and expand our reach to solve customer problems we may not be solving today.”

In addition to the focus on creating a multi-X future, finalists will be selected on how well their solutions fit four defined criteria: viability, feasibility, desirability, and strategic fit. If selected as finalists, these companies will have the opportunity to work hands-on with leaders representing a diverse mix of perspectives across Wells Fargo, such as Head of Technology Saul Van Beurden and Head of Strategy, Digital, and Innovation Ather Williams III.

The future of financial services is going to be heavily dependent on a network of different things that happen around us. What we want to be able to do is add those services and expand our reach to solve customer problems we may not be solving today

“Our customers are really working in a multi-X world. They have multiple ways of saving, spending, borrowing — all of these aspects of ‘I want it my way’ — which means we have to have multiple ways of solving problems for multiple customers,” Narasimhan said. “We’re not doing this for the sake of technology. We’re completely focused on how to better service our customers and the value of our business.”

Changing our DNA

The Wells Fargo Innovation Challenge hopes to create a more dynamic environment for our customers and our company.

“We expect this to bubble out ideas that may be very early but don’t have enough capital, don’t have enough support, or don’t have a captive customer base,” Mehta said.

The financial services industry is in the midst of a huge transformation,  and  Wells Fargo is excited to invite new collaborators to further the innovation of financial services.

“This is a lifestyle, not a diet. We want to build a culture of solving customer problems and accelerating using new collaborators in our organization,” Narasimhan said. “It’s the idea that solving problems for the multi-X future will be part of our DNA by the end of the Innovation Challenge.”


1.THE WELLS FARGO INNOVATION CHALLENGE IS A JUDGED CONTEST. NO ENTRY FEE OR PURCHASE IS REQUIRED TO ENTER OR WIN.

Challenge runs from 12:01:01 a.m. Pacific Time (“PT”) on 4/7/22 to 11:59:59 p.m. PT on 5/13/22. Open only to U.S.-based entities who have a valid Federal EIN Tax ID number. To be a finalist or winner, entity must meet all the eligibility requirements at the time of application. Wells Fargo employees and their immediate family members not eligible. Challenge subject to full rules. For complete details including eligibility, challenge questions, judging criteria and prize award requirements see Official Rules. Void where prohibited.

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