Entrants must answer six set questions within a combined maximum of 1,000 words. The questions are:

  1. How was the idea behind this product or service innovation originated? (50 marks)
    Explain the genesis of your innovation. Was it developed inhouse in a “blue sky” manner, or in response to a specific need or planned strategy? Was it suggested by an external agency or partner – if so, how? Have you “imported” a successful approach from another country, or from a different sector within your own country? Or did you see a competitor’s initiative and find a way to do it better? 

  2. What was the challenge or opportunity this product or service innovation was seeking to address? (50 Marks)
    Is it solving a specific significant problem, or making an incremental improvement to user experience or value? Does it have potential to change consumer behaviour or transform the way the market operates? 

  3. What are the key consumer benefits of your product or service innovation? (100 Marks)
    Describe the key features and benefits of the product or service. How unique is it? What kind of benefits does this product, app or service deliver to the end user? How does it to compare to competitors if competition exists? How does it differentiate from existing products and services? Will part of the challenge be to persuade customers to embrace the new approach? Benefits to the customer could be evidenced, for example, in terms of more flexible or convenient access; attracting customers new to financial services because the access or product features are more convenient or relevant for them; or simply better value for money. But there should also be evidence that the new features are being used, rather than just “admired from afar”. 

  4. How was the innovation linked with the company’s overall customer or business strategy? (50 marks)
    How does the innovation match the values of the business, and why? Was the innovative approach developed as the most effective way to deliver a challenging strategic goal? Or was the trigger the availability of the innovation, which then led to a realignment of the company’s longer term ambitions? Which departments were involved in the insight, development and launch of the product and service? 

  5. What was the strategy for developing the product or service and introducing it to the market? (100 marks)
    Are you taking an existing product or service and improving on it or creating a step-change in a product or service? How did you go about developing the final product or service and how was it promoted to attract users or customers? Is it designed to attract new customers only, or to retain or enhance the experience of existing customers? What steps did you take to help existing customers to migrate to and embrace the new approach, especially if it involves new or different technology. How (if at all) did you minimise the risk of your innovation being copied (and perhaps improved upon) by competitors? What steps did you take to ensure that your new approach is resilient (especially if it involves technology that is new to the customer), and to what extent did you prepare recovery plans in case of IT or other problems?

  6. How would you quantify the success of this innovation? (100 marks) 
    Can you demonstrate tangible results to date? Did it meet or improve on the original challenge? Can you show a progressive trajectory for this product or service? How disruptive is it and what is the long-term impact for your company or the financial services industry? Benefit to the company could be evidenced, for example, in terms of current and future compliance; perceived value; improvements in current or potential sales and/or margins; positive media coverage; or increased customer satisfaction and endorsement. 

Graphs and images should be used in conjunction with the 1000-word submission to clarify data and make the paper engaging.

Clarity and brevity are important throughout, but in terms of assessing the entry, some answers are more important than others. This is reflected in the maximum possible score for each question. Further details of the judging criteria and the score weighting are available on request.

Every entry will be carefully reviewed by a panel of judges. Shortlisted entries will then be debated, discussed and assessed by all the judges at a full day judging event.


Our awards are open to all financial services brands, technology groups, or their agencies, based anywhere in the world. It is not necessary for anyone in your organisation to be a member of The Financial Services Forum to make an entry.

The activities that are being entered must have been launched or developed after 1 January 2018.


No material used to answer the six questions will be printed without prior approval from the entrant. If an entrant requires that a particular judge does not view industry sensitive data, please mark your requirements accordingly. We and our judges will absolutely respect commercial confidentiality. All supporting information supplied with your entry will be securely destroyed once it has been considered by the judges.

Entry Form and Costs

Entries can be made free of charge. 

If an entry is being made by an agency, authorisation by a senior level representative from the client company must be provided. A copy of an email is acceptable and can be included in the supporting material section.

Supporting material

Where possible, support your entry with images and graphs. This can help with the overall word count and make the entry more engaging to the judges. If you would like your supporting material to be accessible to the judges, it must be submitted in digital format, and included in the supporting material section.  Although such supporting material may play a useful part in your submission, please remember that it is principally the 1000-word document that will describe the effectiveness of your initiative and therefore make your entry successful.