June 29, 01:06

5′ with Costas Bissas

Design Researcher & Industrial Designer

FinQuest 5′ sessions welcomes Costas Bissas

Costas is an Innovation Specialist at Found.ation, contributing to the company’s innovation and corporate services. Additionally, as an Adjunct Lecturer at the Department of Product and Systems Design Engineering at the University of the Aegean, he co-tutors the Ideation and Concept Design studios.

Costas’ professional research interests are found between design, technology, wellbeing and culture, focusing on the use of design as a creative tool for the development of innovative products and services. He is an industrial designer and mechanical engineer by training, an experimental practitioner at heart and multidisciplinary designer by choice.

  • What do you consider to be the greatest innovation in history?

Difficult to pick one. But since you ask, I would say the mass-produced pencil. It is a widely available tool for putting abstract cloudy thoughts on a piece of paper, clarifying and sharing them with other individuals. From letters, sentences, guidelines & essays to sketches, drawings, stories and musical compositions, it is a tool for conveying meanings and emotions, calculations and novelties, current thoughts and future realities.

  • What do you consider to be the trending technologies now and what is your prediction for the technologies of the future?

AI, Data, Machine Learning, IoT, Robotics, Automation, Blockchain and CRISPR have been talked of for a while, but only now do we start to see some of them becoming mainstream. Rather than wonder which technologies are here to stay, it could be equally important to consider whether and how we, the people, are ready to accept them. How do we want these technologies embedded in our lives? What kind of ease and transparency should we be looking for and what are we willing to trade off? Where might they lead us as societies and a species?

Some of the aforementioned technologies will become mainstream in the future and surely more are on the way. However, they do not exist in isolation. Their uptake and direction will depend on concurrent social, environmental and political trends, which is why a human-centered approach to technology should be on the main stage. Because, in the end, a utopic from a dystopic future reality might be just a small thoughtless decision away, somewhere along the line of many decisions.

As in every sector, technology has the ability to evolve it, though momentarily destabilizing different parts until a new equilibrium is in place. One should consider consequences of the application of any new technology and respond to the changes that come along. So, agility and fluidity are a necessary mindset. All in all, technology can and will impact the finance sector greatly and in a beneficial way, as long as it is designed to serve the needs of the stakeholders involved: customers, employees and organizations.

Initiatives like FinQuest are a great source of understanding and uncovering what technology is being developed out there, and how people consider using it. In a way, it bridges the gap between individual team’s insights and identified opportunities with the financial organization’s outlook on the market and financial system. This often creates debate and lengthy conversations that should be taken as an opportunity for self-improvement by all parties. Inevitably “goods & bads” are highlighted and apprehended, becoming the starting point for any kind of change. But then, product/service improvement and customer satisfaction can only happen once one acts upon these “goods & bads”, weighing in tech factors and stakeholder needs.

Of course! Such a process can only be beneficial for any young startup with an idea relative to the financial sector and a passion for technology. It is a rare opportunity to be in proximity to an institutional organization and its people, aiming for a reality check and gaining an understanding of whether the idea is promising or could develop for a better market fit.

We all probably know people who tell stories of ideas and do not act upon them. Instead of a path to innovation, this behavior is a mere joyful pastime and a good evening out, surrounded by friends at the local “kafeneio”.

So why would a curious, young, vibrant startup team with an appetite to impact the world not want to put their idea to the test?