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    Posted May 19, 2015 by

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    Citigroup awards a pink slip to creator of $100 million winning idea in global innovation contest


    For its 200 year anniversary Citigroup presented staff, all 266,000 plus employees, with The Future of Banking Challenge. The challenge engaged employees in a contest to re-envision the future of banking.
    The Future of Banking Challenge was the largest ever within a corporation: over 46,500 people from 97 countries participated in the competition which ran for six months and generated 2,307 ideas.
    The Challenge effectively engaged employees, who quickly began submitting and voting on leading-edge concepts for what the future of banking could look like.
    The community voted for the Top Ten and a production company helped each put together a pitch video to help sell their idea. The community picked the Final Four from Greece, Dublin, Peru and the US, who then pitched live to five of Citigroup’s top executives, as well as the company as a whole, in order to decide which idea would be the winner, with a promise the winning idea will be funded and brought to market.
    The US idea was expected to win, but at the request of one of the judges two ideas were selected as the winners and later combined to form one concept.
    Citigroup then engaged a New York design and innovation consulting firm to perform a feasibility, desirability and viability study. The study predicted high demand for the concept, with at least $100 million in revenue during the first year the concept is implemented and steady growth thereafter.
    The winners were each given a t-shirt and a plaque.
    Shortly afterwards, the US winner, a 26 year veteran of Citigroup who climbed from entry level to SVP by automating cumbersome operations functions, was then rewarded with a pink slip: part of the yearly ritual Citigroup performs to eliminate those who fail to meet expectations.
    Of course, this had nothing to do with a memo the winner had previously sent to the CEO reporting ethics issues. The COO had put that to rest when he called the winners managing director, asking him to take care of the matter.
    Now, at 55 years old and overqualified for lower level jobs and too old or tarnished for mid to senior level positions, he is finding it difficult to find work. At least he has the t-shirt, plaque and the knowledge that his idea will help Citigroup reward shareholders and senior executives when that $100 million in revenue begins coming in.

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