Barriers to innovation within large financial services firms: An in-depth study into disruptive and radical innovation projects at a bank

Patrick Das, Robert Verburg, Alexander Verbraeck, Lodewijk Bonebakker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)
317 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose - Since the 2008 financial crisis, the financial industry is in need of innovation to increase stability and improve quality of services. The purpose of this paper is to explore internal barriers that influence the effectiveness of projects within large financial services firms focussing on potentially disruptive and radical innovations. While literature has generally focused on barriers within traditional technology and manufacturing firms, few researchers have identified barriers for these type of firms. Design/methodology/approach - A framework of internal barriers was developed and validated by means of an explorative case study. Data were collected at a European bank by exploring how innovation is organized and what barriers influence effectiveness of eight innovation projects. Findings - Six items were identified as key barrier for potentially disruptive and radical innovations (e.g. traditional risk-avoidance focus, and inertia caused by systems architecture). As such, in the sample these were more important than traditionally defined barriers such as sources of finance, and lacking exploration competences. Research limitations/implications - Based on a small number of projects within one firm, the results highlight the need for more in-depth research on the effects of barriers and how barriers can be overcome within this industry. Originality/value - The results show that there is a discrepancy between the societal demand for radical change within the financial industry and the ability of large financial services firms to innovate. The study identifies which unique internal barriers hamper potentially disruptive and radical innovation in large financial services firms.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Innovation Management
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Innovation projects
  • Financial service
  • Disruptive innovation
  • Radical innovation
  • Innovation barriers

Cite this