Our keynote speaker series has been a major feature in the transformation of Finovate from a demo-only showcase to its current incarnation as a digital-friendly, intellectual marketplace for fintech insight and thought leadership, as well.

With a new set of digital and in-person events planned for 2021, we wanted to take a quick look back at some of the speakers who have provided some of the most unique insights into the nexus of finance, technology, and society over the past year. Stay tuned for big announcements this month on what we’ve got in store!


Steven Van Belleghem, author of Customers The Day After Tomorrow

Providing a special address at FinovateEurope just over a year ago, Belleghem took attendees on a fun and insightful journey that looked at how enabling technologies – from 4G and social media – have forced businesses to reconsider the nature of customer service. And with even more powerful enabling technologies like quantum computing and AI right around the corner, he suggested further disruptions to and opportunities in the relationship between customers, businesses, and the products and services they provide are almost assured.

Interestingly, Belleghem points to a new relationship – B2A or business-to-assistant – that will actually make it easier for all parties to negotiate this new, more personalized, but more complex and challenging e-commerce experience. But even as he sees the consumer taking a less active role in everyday financial decision-making, Belleghem still sees human nature behind the wheel. “It’s not going to just be technology that drives new customer expectations,” he said, “it is also going to be personal dreams and wishes, and also the challenges the world will be facing.”


Pablos Holman, Futurist, Founder of Turing AI

“Please crawl out your window,” folk singer Bob Dylan once crooned. “Use your arms and legs, they won’t ruin you.” A similar sentiment was at the center of the keynote address by futurist and founder of Turing AI, Pablos Holman. Speaking at our first all-digital fintech conference, FinovateFall Digital, back in September, Holman urged his audience to focus on solutions to real problems and to avoid the comfort zone of the tried and true. “Nobody has ever invented a new technology by reading the directions,” Holman noted.

For fintechs specifically, Holman – who is also an Inventor with the Intellectual Ventures Lab – urges two strategies. First he encourages startups to see bank partnerships as a way to understand more clearly the needs of financial institutions and their customers. Second, Holman bluntly recommends “running a lot of experiments” to ensure that you remain open to often-overlooked solutions that might actually work best.


Nancy Giordano, strategic futurist and TEDx curator

In her keynote opening address at FinovateWest Digital, Navigating the Big Shift – How Exponential Technologies are Changing … Everything, Nancy Giordano highlighted the fact that as we are struggling to keep up with rapid technological change, we must be vigilant to the pitfalls of becoming paralyzed in the face of it.

For businesses, the strategic futurist cautions against the temptation to “not make decisions,” encouraging them instead to be readier to “act dynamically” in the face of uncertainty. A little over a generation ago, it was the political that became personal. Increasingly, Giordano observed, it is the professional that is becoming personal. And technology is playing a major part in making this happen.


Photo by Digital Buggu from Pexels

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