Here at APCA we have been thinking about network innovation a lot lately – not least because the Reserve Bank is also thinking about it, in their Strategic Review of Innovation in the Payments System. There is a lot of management theory on innovation: diffusion of innovations, disruptive and sustaining innovation, even plenty of recent thinking about clustering of expertise and innovation networks (not the same thing as innovation IN networks, by the way). But none of the theory I’ve read so far really grapples with the special problems of services that have a network effect – ie where the number and kind of other users of a service affect its attractiveness to any one user. Payments is a classic network service – merchants want to accept a card with the biggest possible issued base (or perhaps issued to lots of high net worth people); consumers want a card that is accepted in every shop near their home, and so on.
The inaugural Australian Payments Council hackathon is upon us, beginning tonight! We managed to sneak in a quick chat ahead of the event with Paul Jennings, CTO of eftpos, who will be one of our judges on Sunday.
What sparked your interest in becoming a judge for the Hackathon?
I’ve judged hackathons previously. I’m always excited to see how much talent is out there, and to watch just how hard people work to realise their ideas.
These events provide such a wonderful learning opportunity. It will be great to experience that again, particularly as a judge in Australia’s first transactional data hackathon. I’m also looking forward to seeing what ideas come out of the Hackathon and meeting the participants.
What would you like to see come out of the Hackathon?
Firstly, I’d like to say that the Hackathon theme – to Improve the Lives of Australians – really hits the mark. It’s great to see the Council focusing on the consumer perspective, we often see data being used for commercial activity, rather than having the customer genuinely in mind. The challenges themselves resonate with me. Everyone knows how awful it is when something goes wrong, and making the recovery easier is a fantastic all round goal. Improving a customer’s daily life aligns perfectly with our company tag line at eftpos of Helping with the everyday.
The Hackathon is providing all sorts of data to participants over the weekend. What opportunities do you see for using data in payments?
At eftpos, we process more than 6 million card transactions daily, seeing examples of what might be possible with all that data is a great opportunity.
Beyond eftpos, I’m always trying to figure out what’s coming up next, so of course I love “out of the box” ideas. In the past, some of the best prototypes I’ve seen have combined the data provided with unusual sources to produce some amazing insights.
For more information, see the hackathon’s website.