Lessons learned from SCB 10X Innovative Organization that Drives Startup Ecosystem from the Faith in Human Capacities

Many might think that to become an innovative organization, one needs to be a large long-established corporation. But “SCB 10X” took less than 2 years to win the National Innovation Award 2021, Distinction Prize – Medium Organization from NIA. For the first activity of Innovation Thailand Alliance, we have heard the lessons learned from Mr. Putikarn Aurat, Head of Venture & Portfolio Management and Head of People & Branding, SCB 10X, who has shared his interesting perspectives which can be beneficial for other organizations as well.

Begin with clear concept and mission

SCB 10X Co., Ltd., was established in January 2020 with the mission to oversee investments in disruptive technology startups for Siam Commercial Bank (SCB). From the beginning, SCB 10X was a department in SCB Group, destined to experiment with the New S-Curve business for the bank. Later, SCB 10X became a holding company of Siam Commercial Bank (SCB Group), incorporating all the businesses with the mission relevant to creating innovation and investing in exponential technologies under SCB 10X. 3 core missions are 1). To create Thai Unicorn which is carried out by the Venture Builder arm to develop new innovation and New S-Curve for the bank, while also investing in other Ecosystems including Blockchain-Based Financial Services, Digital Assets, Digital Health & Wellness and Digital Work & Lifestyle 2) To become the Leading Investor who invests in the exponential growth technology portfolio companies both in Thailand and abroad 3) To become the Top of Mind for both Thai and regional Tech Talents. Apart from creating the borderless, new S-Curve business for SCB, the Company also continuously seeks to invest in and build new businesses that are responsive to the needs of our country.

“Moonshot Mission,” the mission towards the Far & Future Business

Carrying out these tough missions is a challenge. Therefore, to pursue "the Moonshot Mission" to achieve exponential growth and to invest in global exponential growth startups are such challenging goals. This is because these startups do not only look for a monetary incentive, SCB 10X, thus, needs to offer something bigger than investment funding to attract these startups. Also, to become the Top of Mind for Digital Talents and able to compete with other technology businesses is another challenging goal that we are pursuing. In addition, Moonshot Mission is exclusive only to SCB 10X and not bound to other investment goals of Tomorrow Business that SCB is pursuing. SCB 10X Moonshot Mission is far beyond that, to create Far & Future Business in order to distinguish ourselves from other affiliated companies under SCB Group.

Fail fast, Fail forward

Throughout our 2 years of experiences, SCB 10X has learned and experimented with multiple innovations. One of them is Fail Fast, Fail Forward. In a nutshell, everyone at SCB 10X accepts what they fail because over 80% startups do fail and only 20% can thrive. Therefore, to create the Culture that everyone can fail fast, learn fast and move forward is crucial for organization. Another lesson is creating a sense of entrepreneurship. At SCB 10X, the Career Path for employees is not about the position or job promotion, but it is about fostering an open atmosphere for creating innovation. If any project succeeds, the employees who take part in ideating and developing that project can spin off to a new company that they can be one of the founders, with SCB 10X as the co-founder. Therefore, the key driver towards innovation among employees is entrepreneurship as innovation is not only about creating something new, but something that yields outcomes.

Recruiting the right talents

SCB 10X invests in the process of Recruiting as they see human capital as an important resource and asset to the organization. For more possibilities of success, SCB 10X strives to attract the right persons, both competencies and attitudes. SCB 10X has spent most time in forming the first A-Team which mainly attracts the like-minded A-Team to join ecosystem and community. Upon joining SCB 10X, they can take part in developing innovations, investing in world-class startups as well as driving this success together with the team of professionals with like-minded attitude and vision. Many people join SCB 10X because they want to be part of its Moonshot Mission and the Entrepreneur in Residence, with their strong sense of entrepreneurship. Many come here because they enjoy the opportunity to work with those who share the same goal and if their project succeeds, they can become one of the founders of the newly created business. All of these are the approaches we have taken to motivate employees from Inside-Out, unlike taking the Outside-In approach by setting KPI for the organization.

Maintaining the Motivational Culture

The culture that is born out of SCB 10X establishment is B-O-O-S-T, which consists of

B – Boldness in pioneering the Far & Future Business especially in a firm with a high level of risk Everyone must be a decision maker and a risk taker. Even if there are possibilities for failure, the project must take a calculated risk, which requires speedy decision-making and readiness for reset.
O – Ownership, eager to carrying out new tasks with a sense of ownership.
O – Open to new ideas
S – Speed. Businesses nowadays are Fast Fish Eat Slow Fish, rather than Big Fish Eat Small Fish like it used to be. So being agile and taking speedy action are crucial.
T – Trust. This does not simply mean trusting people but also trust that we can make an impact.

These 5 Core Values are the outcomes of the 3-4 month-workshops that SCB 10X did with all the teams from Venture Builder, Investment and Back office before finding the common ground for gaining buy-in and creating the shared value towards success among all employees.