1,000s of UK’s Finance Businesses Have Serious Corporate Culture Issues

Thursday, October 19th, 2017


Fewer than 1 in 10 of 89,000[i] financial service businesses have cultures that are understood

 19th October 2017: New insights show that a large proportion of the UK’s financial sector businesses are unaware of the importance of creating clear, impactful corporate values to support their overall business vision and strategy.

The observations from Innovation Arts highlight that the majority of corporate values are currently having very little influence on promoting positive employee behaviours and supporting strategic imperatives, and instead contribute to a confused workforce who feel they lack engagement and purpose. According to Innovation Arts, this phenomenon is not exclusive to the financial sector and is also relevant to manufacturing, hospitality, and the service and public sectors.

The Innovation Arts insights coincide with the release of Gallup’s State Of The Workplace[ii] report 2017 that estimates the cost to the UK of disengaged employees as between £84.3bn and £87.2bn in lost productivity. Gallup attributes much of this to companies’ lack of ability to keep employees engaged in the face of an ever-increasing pace of change.

As a globally-recognised hybrid strategy consultancy and design agency, Innovation Arts has over twenty years’ experience in working with some of the leading FTSE100 and Fortune companies to help them develop their company’s corporate culture.

Commenting on the insights, CEO David Christie said:

“We work with many organisations across a wide variety of sectors and see on a daily basis how employees are reticent to admit that they don’t understand their company’s values, or maybe they interpret them differently to their colleagues. This can be a difficult conversation with a boss, which is why corporate value statements often go unchanged – there is an assumption that they are doing their job. Currently we are observing this time and time again in the financial service sector, which is feeling the pain of antagonistic culture most acutely as it goes through continued fast-paced transformation and numerous imperatives to evolve”.

Christie continues:

“We understand that Culture is a hard beast to tame, but even more so when you are focusing on transformational change and growth. However, instead of effectively using values to bind employees together like a family under one common purpose, problems can arise that can lead to recruitment and retention issues, as well as a reduction in the innovative behaviour necessary for any company to grow and develop.”

Innovation Arts has identified five key ‘watch-outs’ for the financial service sector to help them identify if their company culture is in crisis:

  1. Employee behaviour & ways of working are impeding achievement of corporate objectives
  2. Values are not integrated into the pattern language used every day by employees
  3. Leaders to do not refer to the values when taking decisions
  4. There is a cultural disconnect between Leadership and the rest of the organisation
  5. Employee surveys show high levels of dissatisfaction, suggesting that the stated values do not reflect actual or lived values

David Christie continues:

“The financial service sector is currently going through a significant upheaval with the pressure of regulation, legislation such as PSD2 and the rapid advancement of technology. Corporate cultures must not only keep pace with this rapid transformation, but organisations must be able to engage, inspire and motivate employees to ensure a constant stream of innovative ideas while reducing turnover and associated costs. With employees from the millennial generation now reaching positions of leadership, the sector needs to think differently about how it leverages its corporate culture for a brave new world. “Today it is no longer possible to dictate values and associated behaviours and expect them to be absorbed and acted on accordingly. Now, employees see their company as one part of a larger system where customers, communities and employees interact for social good in order to make a positive impact on the world around them.”

Innovation Arts has been helping organisations achieve cultural transformation since 2004. Based on the requirement for a new way of thinking, they have now developed an innovative way to bring those values to life and engaging and inspiring employees about their organization’s corporate culture through a game called Dilemma®.

David Christie comments:

“With so many distractions of the company’s day-to-day business, addressing the corporate culture can be a huge task without direction and support, and today’s financial service organisation wants to achieve a high-quality, company-wide, sustainable outcome with less risk, more certainty and in a fraction of the time. That’s where game science and design thinking can help. They provide a cost- effective, faster solution to engaging and inspiring employees than older more traditional consultancy methods. Collaborative approaches stimulate ‘group genius’, stretch people’s thinking and align all levels of the organisation around a fit-for-purpose corporate culture. By combining these approaches with games like Dilemma® that allow employees to have an open and frank conversation about how company culture works in practice, we can motivate any group to own their company’s values and bring them to life. This can be game-changing for any organisation facing the reality of necessary transformation.”

– Ends

For further information, please contact Emma Nicholson on emma.nicholson@innovation-arts.com or on 020 7993 6975. Visit www.innovation-arts.com.

 About Dilemma®
Dilemma® translates an organisation’s values into day-to-day behaviours for every employee to understand and act upon. Dilemma® employs a rigorous interview process to ensure a bespoke experience for each organization that uses it, and allows employees to put their corporate values through their paces through a series of scenarios matched with potential responses. Players earn points for responding with the action most closely tied to the intent of their company’s values— carefully avoiding the reactions born of habit or context. Dilemma® addresses slips and shortcuts, and encourages the players to talk through what a “wrong” response is and why an employee might be tempted to take the easy route. By identifying the preferred actions and likely workarounds, people who play Dilemma® are likely to talk about the company’s values in a way that’s meaningful for them, clarifying what the values are, why they exist, and how they should be enacted.
About Innovation Arts
Innovation Arts is a globally-recognised hybrid strategy consultancy and design agency described by GQ as ‘the management consultant of the future’. Based in the UK, North America and Europe, our focus is on creating the optimal conditions for diverse groups to solve together any complex organisational challenge. When faced with challenging disruptions, from a major new product launch to adapting a corporate culture and navigating a merger, the level of complexity demands more than the existing processes can handle. By implementing a design thinking-based approach, we deliver high-quality, sustainable outcomes with less risk, more certainty and in a fraction of the time compared to conventional agency approaches. The Innovation Arts team is a mixture of strategists, management consultants, designers, advertisers, branding and communication experts and artists all skilled in helping organisations to make change happen.

[i] 89,000 financial services businesses https://goo.gl/0mBJQB Business Population Estimates. October 2016. UK government statistics
[ii] http://workplace.gallup.com/212027/resources.aspx


Innovation Arts talks “Deep Listening” with Oscar Trimboli

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

According to leadership coach, speaker and author, Oscar Trimboli, we spend half of our days listening, yet most of us aren’t equipped with the skills for deep listening:

Multiple academic studies have shown that between 50% and 55% of your working day is spent listening, yet only 2% of people have been trained in how to listen.

Trimboli states that for the most part, the average person listens to reply and not to understand. Of course, that is far from the truth for a graphic recorder or scribe. At Innovation Arts, we spend most of our time working hard to listen deeply – engaging with content in it’s spoken form so that we can properly translate into into visual metaphors. This requires a lot of training and practice on the part of our graphic recorders.

When Trimboli contacted us to find out more about how graphic recorders hone and utilise their deep listening skills, we were happy to share as much as we could. Sarah Manley and David Christie sat down with him to talk “listening to content” through the lens of scribing. Good listening, for a graphic recorder, filters content into the essential – bringing the meaning of a conversation to the service and preserving it in visual form.

We really enjoyed being part of the recording of this podcast, and reflecting on our own methods and process with Trimboli. If you are interested in the podcast and learning more about graphic recording please have a listen!

You can download the podcast for free on iTunes or listen below:

Making our bold moves with tedxteen

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

When you are called in to work on a Saturday, it’s lovely when it doesn’t actually feel like work – luckily, TEDxTEEN can be depended upon for fun, excitement, and inspiration. So, Saturday June 24th, our scribes happily travelled down to the 02 – coffees in hand – to capture the rich, diverse and always impressive stories of TEDxTEEN London 2017 as an Infomural.

This year, the theme was “bold moves” and showcased the bold endeavours of a diverse group of teenagers. Promotion for the event read:

“We have never been more connected, more innovative, or more resourceful. We have also never felt the weight of the present and future more than right now.”

Accordingly, there was a serious but hopeful tone to the talks. We heard from youth grappling with prejudice, mental illness, isolation and death – sharing stories of what it means to be a teen, maturing and learning to cope with realities from which we are sheltered as children.

Each one of the speakers had a positive strategy for dealing with personal and global pain. We heard from a young Syrian refugee who, despite odds and parental hair-tearing, managed to carry her school books across borders to ensure her education. We heard from a young girl, mercilessly bullied and abused, who had channelled her experience into the creation of an app that allowed other isolated youth to find peers to sit with at lunchtime. We heard from a self-taught computer-scientist who’s personal experience in Afghanistan inspired him to create artificial intelligence for improved breast cancer detection.

The event opened with a reflection upon every participants place in a historical chain:

“We are here today, in this moment on this planet, as a result of decisions that humans have made every year, month, day, hour, minute and second that have come before.”

It was only fitting then the day should conclude with a voice from the past: Ben Ferencz, the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremburg Tribunals, joined via skype to share his experiences, fears and hopes for the future. He addressed his audience directly and with respect, speaking to them not as children but as bourgeoning adults about to take on a world of responsibility. Ferencz metaphor of passing on the torch of humanity and progress to this new generation had a clear impact. From the speakers we had the pleasure of listening to that day, we can think of no better a group of young people to rise to the challenge Ferencz’s described.

Hope in Berlin: We join Save the Children for their 2017 Global Conference on Children on the Move

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Keeping positive can prove challenging when a scroll through your newsfeed submerges you in painful stories of suffering abroad and at home. At Innovation Arts we are given the unique opportunity to collaborate with organisations that refresh the narrative – writing empowering and hopeful stories through hard work. Save the Children is one such organisation, striving to improve the lives of children all over the world. Their 2017 Global Conference on Children on the Move was a chance to focus on the needs of children migrating between countries. We were honoured to join them on June 12 and 13th in Berlin to capture the event’s output through graphic recording.


Participants congregated to share research, explain current initiatives and ideate new solutions for the needs of children on the move as well as means of prevention against the many risks these children face. Among participants were humanitarian organisations like UNICEF, government representatives, the United Nations, intergovernmental agencies, universities, private sector companies, Save the Children’s many international offices, and many more.

Photo: Participants congregate around our infomural and graphic recording to reflect upon output from the day.

It was inspiring to see the spirit of collaboration and collective action that permeated the event. There was incredible energy as attendees shared their work, ideas and passion for change.


We were asked to graphic record throughout the day, capturing output from talks and workshops. The graphic recording was galleried in the main hall so attendees reflect upon the content from the day, and discuss plans for future action.

Photo: One of our graphic recorders captures content from a talk in real time.

We created an infomural that wove together the output of the event into a visual story. There was a powerful narrative running through the event – the journey of young refugees, migrants and displaced persons from risk and turmoil to hope and opportunity, supported by the collective initiatives of all those represented by the event – and we wanted to bring it to life.

Photo: Participants take photos of our infomural as it progresses throughout the event.

As part of the event, Save the Children nominated 20 inspiring young people, all currently or in the past considered “children on the move”. These incredible young people were strong advocates for the rights of their peers, contributing music, legal aid, philanthropic support, and more to the cause. We shared their stories in visual form and were thrilled to see them respond effusively, laughing and taking photos of each other.

Photo: Youth participant and singer-songwriter Bahajt Alturjman poses in front of his portrait and personal story.

It was a pleasure to collaborate with Save the Children and we were inspired by the stories we captured during the event. The strength and positivity that was generated during the two days of talks and workshops is much needed. There is a lot of work to be done but huge hope for the future.

Our Infomural finds a home at the London Transport Museum

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017


Back in July, our Think & Visualise team had the pleasure of working with Arup and TFL to bring the future of transport to life during the Transported By Design Festival on Regent’s Street. Today, you can find our Infomural in it’s new home in the front entrance of the London Transport Museum.

The full-colour Infomural can be found just right of the front doors of the museum. Created live over the course of the one-day event, it captures the cumulative vision of thousands of participants. During the festival, attendees where asked “What will transport in London look like in 2040?”. Participants shared visions of a greener, more connected and sustainable world – with the occasional hover car thrown in for good measure. These ideas are elaborated upon in the text surrounding the infomural within the museum.

The festival was a wonderful opportunity for us to work with the public as a whole.  We can’t be happier to be included in the London Transport Museum!

Innovation Arts Infomural for TFL

Photo: Innovation Arts Infomural at the London Transport Museum.

Capturing Shell’s Making The Future Accelerator

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Last week we attended Shell’s Make The Future Festival at the Olympic Park here in London. The festival brought more than 30,000 people together to share ideas and innovation for the future of global energy.

The Shell Accelerator was a one-day event during the festival that accelerated thinking and team-building through collaborative workshops interspersed with engaging talks and pitches from keynote speaker. We sent James and Jordana over to capture the content from the Shell Accelerator through graphic recording.


If you want to read more about the event or see some of the amazing exhibitions that featured click over to their website here:


TBDFest – we join Arup & TFL on Regent Street!

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

How do you suppose a four-year-old might envision transportation for London in 2040? If you suspected flying cars, bubble buses and bunny scooters you are remarkably right. We asked four-year-olds, 90-year-olds and everyone in between that very question at Transported By Design – a TFL festival that took over Regent Street this past Sunday.

The festival was part of an ongoing initiative to educate and involve the public in the design of TFL services. It presented TFL designs from the past and present and imagined how these designs might be reinvented for the future. Partnering with ARUP, we brought public projections of the future to life with graphic recording.

We asked the public carefully crafted questions about how transport might look in 2040 and as the answers came in, we got to work! Scribes Jordana and James captured the individual ideas in two tessellated grids, while Eddie distilled the information into one incredible Infomural.

Adobe Photoshop PDF

It was an amazing day – working collaboratively with thousands of people is a rare opportunity and we relished it!


Photo: Check us out with the Arup team!

Plus, we woke up this morning to this surprise! Take a look at Eddie on the BBC today:


If you want to read the full BBC write-up of TBD festival you can find it online at:


We join Innovate Finance at London Tech Week!

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016


We just got back from scribing for Innovate Finance’s “Money Talks: VCs Take The Stage”. Reversing the usual order of things, the event had VCs making pitches to start ups rather than the other way around.

The reversal is indicative of the changing investment climate for Fintech, the fastest growing industry in the UK. Many start-ups are sceptical of Venture Capitalists and investors backed by large institutions. The nature of their business allows start-ups to get prototypes off the ground without huge investment backing. However, as the industry grows, working with a larger institution can offer its own rewards. Insight, managerial support and infrastructure are as useful to start-ups as money and VC’s are willing to offer expertise as well as capital.

As a highlight of London Tech Week, the talks made clear that banks and VCs are taking greater notice of Fintech. It’s a booming market with increased investment, at the forefront of innovation. As one of the UK’s strongest business prospects, we are sure to see Fintech start-ups grow quickly from their humble roots. We sent Jordana to scribe the output of the day through graphic recording.

If you want to learn more about London Tech Week and Innovate Finance’s talks for the week look no further: http://londontechnologyweek.co.uk/event/money-talks-vcs-take-stage/

We get hip with the kids at TedxTeen in London…

Saturday, January 16th, 2016


TEDxTeen took place in London this year at the O2. The theme was “untapped” and covered the subject of firsts – initial ideas, original innovations, first-time collaborations, and more. The event gathering together brilliant young minds for two sessions of talks that were moving as well as informative.

1MakundaAngulo-300dpiOur scribes captured content throughout the day touching upon everything from street dancing to asylum seeking in the UK. They had the pleasure of speaking to some inspiring young people during the event breaks as well. If the passionate, informed attendees of this event are our future, we’re in good hands.


Find out more about the day’s talks at:


Huddled up with Mindshare, Channel 4 and Jon Snow!

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Huddle is an amazing event that collects leading media, tech, culture, and business thought-leaders for a day of exhibitions, talks, and discussion. Hosted by Mindshare, the festival allows pioneers from different industries to connect, collaborate and share their output with the public.

We were there to help with that output, providing live graphic recording. We sat in on CHANNEL 4’s “Stories About People” panel, with Jon Snow. Tech was at the forefront of these discussions – the panel debated the role tech plays in helping uncover stories and in their telling. It was interesting to see where traditional techniques in journalism have overlapped with technological invention, and how these overlaps have developed into innovative solutions.


For more information, check out the Mindshare website: