In addition to dropping 10 lbs. and cutting way down on my daughter's screen time at home, one of my new year's resolutions for 2013 is to take all the momentum I get from attending a good conference and make it last for more than the day or two that it usually does once the event is over.
You know how it is. You go to an industry gathering, and despite the awkwardness of wearing a name tag and the monotony of sitting in the same hotel ballroom for three days straight, you're inspired by a keynote speaker who takes a tired, old topic and frames it in a way you haven't thought about before. Or you listen in on an interesting panel discussion and find yourself jotting down all sorts of ideas you intend to research as soon as you're back in the office.
You make new contacts, you feel rejuvenated about your work, and then you go home, where almost immediately you're sucked right back into your daily routine. Within two weeks, you can't remember where you put all your conference notes, let alone recall what was in them.
It's a frustrating process. In fact, it's possible that one or two very good story ideas for this magazine got lost to just such a process last year. (This despite my new year's resolution for 2012 to become a more organized person.) Lucky for me, the financial services industry is brimming with enough great stories to keep our pages filled.
Also lucky for me, I got to attend several terrific industry events as 2012 drew to a close, including Operation HOPE's Financial Dignity Summit in Atlanta and American Banker's own Financial Services Marketing and Innovation Forum here in New York. (You can read about my takeaways from the HOPE summit in this month's Circuit.)
I learned a lot at these events, and I don't want to squander any of it. Nor do I want to lose the momentum I'm bound to pick up at the conferences on my calendar for 2013, like our Best Practices in Retail Financial Services Symposium, coming up in March. (Have you seen the agenda yet? John Stumpf, Bill Demchak, Ryan McInerney, Harris Simmons, Susan Ehrlich-there are going to be a lot of ideas shared here.)
So for 2013, I'm resolving to do more to preserve the fresh thinking and energy that a successful work gathering can provide, so that it's all still there for me to drawn on whenever I need the inspiration. (Have any tips for how I can accomplish this? If so, please email.)
Of course, staying inspired is never easy, but it can be especially difficult in challenging times.
Hopefully our January issue will help keep you focused on some of the big opportunities in banking. For our annual feature on new ideas for the new year, we surveyed the banking landscape for emerging technology trends and creative, new approaches to industry fundamentals like customer relationships and employee development.
There's more food for thought in our Briefings section, where you'll read about an idea one might argue is going nowhere fast (the Volcker rule, delayed until at least 2015 if an influential pair of House Republicans get their way).
You'll also find instructive stories on two innovations in the underbanked market. One idea succeeded while the other flamed out-a cautionary tale about the challenge of keeping new ideas within the regulatory bounds. And this month's Commentary piece is by Eyelock's Jeff Carter, an unabashed dreamer who is confident in banking's ability to regain its innovative edge.