“I really liked the relatively flat structure that gave me a feeling of impact over the whole organization,” comments Yoanna Genova, an innovation manager at Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria, at the end of a day spent as a CEO of a startup. The very same day, Ivan Stefanov, the actual CEO of this fraud prevention startup called NOTO, spent at the bank exploring what the “fashionable term digital transformation” really means.
Both organizations were part of the first edition of the Visa Innovation Program. Facilitated by Eleven Ventures, the program has a simple purpose: mutual benefit for young tech companies and corporates in the financial sector, fast-tracked pilots and commercialization for startups. During the several months of the program, we were constantly receiving one and the same message: corporates and startups speak different languages and come from completely different universes. So we thought of an alternative way to bring them closer. And yes, we conducted a little experiment: for a day Yoanna Genova and Ivan Stefanov switched roles and went to see how the other company functions.
Blitz Interview: First impressions
After the exhausting day, we put the two together for a blitz interview and asked them how it was and what they learned. Here are some of the questions we had prepared for them and the answers they had right after the exchange experience:
Trending Topics: What was the most crucial question you wanted to answer for yourself today?
Yoanna Genova: Are startups that different from banks?
Ivan Stefanov: What’s behind the fashionable term “digital transformation”?
What did you think your hosts were doing?
Yoanna: I thought that everyone is doing everything and everyone is responsible for everything.
Ivan: I was told that they are part of the innovation team of Raiffeisen.
And what were they actually doing?
Yoanna: They actually are responsible for everything.
Ivan: They seem to be very involved in tracking market trends and trying to translate them into their banking product.
Did you have any prejudice?
Yoanna: I guess I didn’t.
Ivan: I did, as a matter of fact.
One thing you liked and would like to introduce in your organization?
Yoanna: I liked the relatively flat structure that gave me a feeling of having an impact on the whole organization.
Ivan: The more systematic approach of converting ideas into product features.
One phrase that describes your experience today?
Yoanna: Super cool and interesting.
Ivan: Change is possible.
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