TKS and Interac: Gaining GenZ Perspective on Strategic Foresight

TKS is on a mission to bring together the world’s most curious, driven, and ambitious people that want to make an impact. Over the past three years, TKS has worked with Interac Corp. on diverse projects and challenges designed to develop young innovators across Canada, US and beyond.

Interac is one of the most trusted financial brands in Canada thanks to its long history of innovating against new ways to give people greater control over their financial lives. The Interac Innovation team uses a social, technological, economic, environmental, political, and values-driven lens to manage uncertainties and drive opportunities for the company, the ecosystem and most importantly, for all Canadians.

TKS and Interac strive to create unique challenges and learning experiences that support the development of young innovators. Working closely, TKS and Interac have prepared and developed engaging challenges that are geared to support young minds as they prepare for innovative careers ahead.

The story so far

Nadeem Nathoo, cofounder of TKS, is incredibly grateful for the relationship TKS and Interac have built with each other since the two companies crossed paths in 2018:

Over the last couple of years, it is apparent that Interac has made it a priority to invest in young people. The relationship between TKS and Interac has set the bar high for the way we've collaborated to move the needle for innovation and organizational change. This collaboration provided opportunities for students to develop themselves through challenges, internships, and unique opportunities. The hands-on experience and mentorship from Interac are extremely pivotal to creating more future change-makers.

In 2020, TKS and Interac collaborated on an exciting Open Banking challenge. The challenge served as an interactive opportunity for TKS students to generate new perspectives on consumer-directed finance solutions. 

By brainstorming ideas in the emerging topic of Open Banking to develop customer use cases and define new problem-solving frameworks, TKS students were entrusted with the opportunity to solve real-world problems. The challenge allowed students to gain strong insight into the world of Open Banking and develop the key skills needed to accelerate their learning and growth in real-world scenarios. TKS students wowed the Interac team with their thoughtful approach and solutions ranging from improving financial literacy to a comprehensive platform connecting consumers' accounts from different banks.

Since then, student interns have been a part of regular and ongoing rotations for the past four years, working on topics such as connected cities, open banking, and improving our data economies. 

Where we’re heading

The relationship between the two organizations continues as strong as ever this year with three TKS students joining the Interac Innovation team as Summer Interns. Supporting the Innovation team’s mandate to future-proof the business, the interns are gaining valuable, hands-on learning experience within the industry and ecosystem where social improvement is the driving force. The internship seeks to prepare and equip each student for careers as innovators, problem-solvers and game-changers. 

Further challenges and events are also underway, with GenZ ideation events proving the hot topic of this year due to the pace of change being faster than ever and GenZ’s knowledge on emerging topics being stronger than ever. With a particular focus on Strategic Foresight, events are planned and hosted with a wealth of activities that encourage youngsters to develop structured and systematic ways to anticipate and better prepare for change.

The first of the events, The Signals Exchange Forum, has allowed students to connect with key stakeholders within academia to identify and collaborate on strategic opportunities. As part of the key workshops and breakout groups during the event, students identified and developed action plans to support emerging initiatives and solve real issues faced by the Canadian ecosystem.

Focusing on the 11 Marco-Level Sources of Disruption, such as factors that affect business, government and society, TKS students learned to adopt and adapt strategic foresight methodologies to minimize economic disruption.

In reflection of the event, Chandhana Sathishkumar, a TKS student, said:

I learned a lot about identifying signals for future growth in various fields and also the intersection of multiple changes. E.g. what would happen if there was an increase in online classes while there's a decrease in real estate value.

The highlight here would've been how I was able to give a unique perspective to the discussion as someone with a decent understanding of concepts like gene editing, AI and BCIs since most of the attendees were focused on Business. It also felt amazing that our presentations were able to teach others something about STEM.
(he signals & trends TKS students sourced around the 11 Sources of Disruption at the Signals Exchange Forum.

Throughout the event, TKS students were inspired to think creatively and strategically to present effective solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues. And the best part? Students had loads of fun while doing it!

Our progress

Sharing TKS’ perspective and approach towards the future and innovation, the continued collaboration with Interac is proving highly beneficial for both students and society. With a focus on developing young minds to prepare them for a future of social innovation, TKS and Interac are proud to host open-minded events and challenges where students thrive.

More GenZ ideation events are underway, with dates set for later in the year. Although set to pose different challenges, each event is sure to offer impactful learning experiences that equip young innovators with the skills to drive strategic change and innovation in society.

Oscar Roque, VP of Strategy & Emerging Solutions at Interac, is equally proud of the progress cultivated by the ongoing collaboration between the two organizations:

Since 2018, we have continually been impressed with TKS, the calibre of the students, and the value they have brought. The students have always come with a unique perspective on how to identify and solve for challenges of today and the future. We are pleased to create and offer new opportunities and ways of engaging the students to ensure we invest in and evolve the relationship and programs that create the leaders of the future.