Fidelity Labs’ Clubs enlighten and engage

By Betsy Ring

One of the many ways Fidelity advances innovation throughout the firm is by bringing people together to exchange ideas and make connections. Last year, nearly 10,000 associates attended events organized by then four in-house Fidelity Clubs. One of the participants was Robert Hemple, who has benefited from being a member of the Design Thinking Club because it’s been a “tremendous catalyst” for making connections.

“I’ve met colleagues all over the firm who embrace a quality that I admire greatly: curiosity,” said Hemple, of Westlake, Texas. “It’s a curious tribe filled with curious minds who enjoy coming together in an environment filled with infectious enthusiasm to work on problems and think of possible solutions.”

Creating innovation communities

The clubs are a way to make peer-to-peer global connections while fostering a culture of innovation and getting the chance to be an active contributor, by inspiring and informing others. In addition to the Design Thinking Club, the offerings include: The Behavioral Economics Club; Bits and Blocks Club; The Club: Big Data/Artificial Intelligence; The Future of Work; Inventors Club; and Cloud Club.

Fidelity associates from all over the world (and there are more than 52,000 of them) can join any of the clubs. Members can participate virtually via community discussions that are hosted event simulcasts, or in-person at regional seminars with industry-leading speakers and various club meetups. Fidelity strives to connect enthusiasts and newbies alike to create awareness, solicit ideas, and educate associates on research topics that have the potential to disrupt the industry in some way.

By the end of 2016, the first four clubs collectively numbered nearly 5,000 members. Last year, those clubs hosted 42 internal regional meetups and 22 industry-leading guest speaker lectures. Attendees say the events enhance their innovation acumen and creativity with thought-provoking content, and gather inspirational ideas from all sorts of people.

Learning more and going further

The clubs encourage people to push boundaries and move forward. Sometimes joining one club is not enough. Charles Jordan, BPI Director in Westlake, is an avid member of both the Design Thinking and Bits & Blocks clubs.

“The DT Club gives me the opportunity to connect to a global cadre of DT practitioners and experts to further my skills,” he said. “And the Bits & Blocks Club is making me conversant in what I would argue is the most important technological innovation since the internet: the blockchain.”

This is only the beginning of Fidelity’s journey in this space, as the firm is looking to launch one more club this year, which will focus on emerging user interfaces, as it continues to bring people together to exchange ideas and make connections.