Oscar Roque, AVP, Innovation, Research & Emerging Solutions at Interac
Oscar leads the Innovation, Research & Emerging Solutions group at Interac Corp. He is responsible for identifying and exploring new technologies and opportunities in areas including open banking, digital payments and information exchange, blockchain and fintech. He has over 15 years of experience in bringing to market new innovations and leading strategy, product management and delivery teams across multiple industries such as financial services, banking, telecommunications and high tech. Oscar has spoken at numerous high-profile international conferences including Elevate, IBM Think and SIBOS. He is also a contributor and frequent participant on various industry panels and thought leadership platforms. He can speak to Interac’s forward-thinking approach to research and development as it relates to social innovation, as well as provide deep knowledge of existing digital payment and financial technology infrastructure.
What is your definition of innovation?
Innovation comes from multiple vectors and delivers value in some way, shape or form. It can be both tangible (e.g., technology) and intangible (e.g., cultural). We all know change is a constant in this world and innovation is both a way to react to and a way to cause change. Innovation is never-ending. It is ongoing and iterative and needs to balance shorter-term gains with longer-term strategy. But innovation does not happen in a vacuum and, to be successful, innovation needs collaboration. That’s why at Interac, we work with teams across the organization and partners across the fintech industry to develop solutions and great experiences for Canadians.
Why is it important for companies to innovate and invest in modern technologies?
Investing in innovation is paramount to keeping pace with – if not outpacing – Canadians’ rising expectations. But, beyond these expectations lies something even more compelling. Yes, we can make Canadians’ lives easier, but can we also make their lives better? At Interac, innovation is not only about how we use our platform capabilities to enable seamless experiences, but how we push further to leverage those capabilities for social good. Just recently, Interac completed a successful pilot with Alectra Utilities to better understand how we can offer incentives to Canadians who acted in ways that are more climate-friendly.
What advice can you give to Canadian businesses looking to make the most out of their investments in innovation?
Innovation can happen within the core of your organization, but it can also happen at the perimeter. Forming networks and business relationships in new sectors may seem daunting at first but can pay significant dividends in the long run. Remember, innovation should not be contained, though it should be purposeful. Ensuring alignment with your vision and values, while continuously testing them, is important.