MReport September 2018

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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32 | TH E M R EP O RT FEATURE W hen you hear the words disrup- tion, innovation, and technology futurism, they are not often associated with the mortgage industry. The word innovation has been so diluted over the years that it seems to have lost all meaning. From a startup perspective, mortgage companies say they want innovation, but this is simply empty rheto- ric. From a mortgage veteran perspective, established custom- ers, solid bases of revenue, and a disciplined risk management model do not make for innova- tive friendly environments. The word 'innovation' sounds like a dirty word, or at the very least, an inconvenience. That may seem a little harsh, especially considering I work on the other side of the aisle in startup land and this ar- ticle sounds like it may take a predictive turn. "Startup young- ster wants to disrupt mortgage industry!" "Baby boomers are out, millennials are in!" While that is one narrative that may never die, thankfully that is not what this article is about. Thinking innovatively is not just for the young or technology driven. It is for anyone who truly wants to solve a problem, rather than one who only says they do. It may come naturally to some, for others it may be a learned skill. But no matter if you are predisposed to innovate or not, it is a mindset that one must value and practice. How do we bridge the gap where innovation isn't associated with being young and tradition is not so deeply rooted it can be toxic? Value Innovative Thinkers (of Any Age) A ttracting adults under 40 (millennials) will not sud- denly make a company innova- tive, just like ping pong tables or kombucha on tap will not make a company instantly hipster (even though it's pretty close). It is about true company culture, especially in the day-to-day. It doesn't mat- ter what your website says if the executive team or the employees don't intentionally live out the company's mission or they are not passionate about the products they are selling. It's important to remember in- novators tend to migrate towards other innovators. Over the years, I have found that I migrate towards people who can keep up with my conversations, don't laugh off my quandaries about the future, and don't make me feel silly for think- ing the world can be different. You can call me eclectic or odd, but I'll take them all as compliments. I suppose that is how I found myself working in blockchain. If the theory of Moore's Law continues as a theme in technol- ogy where change increases at an exponential rate, token innovative departments or handfuls of in- novators will not be enough. The speed at which companies can move from isolated experimenta- tion to production implementation will be a defining factor in the survival and growth of traditional markets as technology advances. However, in order to drive that innovation, companies can't rely only on the innovative people they have. People with an innova - tive mindset won't work for a "turn-and-burn" employee culture, if they aren't passionate about the company. Especially for millen- nials, their education gives them the privilege of choice. You may think that is a bunch of hooey and it's just millennial feelings getting in the way, but as the most overly educated generation that has surpassed baby boomers in the workforce, companies can't afford to ignore it. Why choose to work somewhere where you may be the token innovator, where you have no community, and your voice may fall on deaf ears when you could start your own company or work somewhere innovation is valued? Not Black or White N ow, this isn't black or white. There is no one size fits all and this isn't 'innovate or die'. This Bridging the Generational Divide From millennials to baby boomers, creating a diverse workforce spurs innovative thinking—and savvy tech tools. By Crystal Wiese

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