The drive towards innovation must run through every part of a leasing business for it succeed – that was the message from and to the industry at the Leaseurope Annual Convention 2013 in Rome.

Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, chairman of Ferrari, made the first presentation of the conference and told delegates innovation was "a 360-degree concept" at Ferrari, meaning it runs through every facet of the business and involves every member of staff.

Di Montezemolo said staff were encouraged to look for and apply bold changes to improve processes and products, from the factory floor to the company’s Formula 1 team, and added people and the passion they have for the business are the most important reasons for success.

He said leasing companies which want to innovate should apply the same philosophy by developing their employees’ enthusiasm and encouraging staff to express ideas.

Future Group

Such an idea was seen in practice on the Convention’s second day when the Leaseurope Future Group, 16 young industry professionals nominated by their chief executives, presented three ideas of how the industry can innovate and achieve growth.

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The first idea, presented by a group led by Paul-Antoine Stirn, partnerships manager at ALD International, focused on developing an incentive for fleet lessees and their drivers to drive more efficiently which would both save on the total cost of ownership and increase customer loyalty.

The second group, led by Etelvina Saavedra, international vendor programme manager at Societe Generale Equipment Finance, presented a pay-per-use subscription concept for SMEs which are unable to commit to longer-term leases and need use of an asset for only a limited period of time. The scheme involved creating a community of like-minded small businesses which could share use of the assets and collectively agree a short-term flexible lease.

The third group, led by Vincent Romanelli, information development officer for Investec Asset Finance, looked at how the leasing industry could take advantage of the peer-to-peer lending market, utilising lessors’ size and scale to reach the market and compete against established peer-to-peer lenders.

The presentations were the fruits of several months of work by the Group after being established by Leaseurope following a Business Council meeting in March.

‘Steal with pride’

Innovation was also the central theme of a session led by Artti Aurasmaa, chief executive of 3 Step IT. Aurasmaa opened the session by telling delegates innovation does not always need to be something new – just something better. He also said innovation doesn’t have to be something your company does and encouraged businesses to steal other company’s ideas with pride.

Aurasmaa also echoed Ferrari’s Di Montezemolo and said innovation can be found at all levels of a business and suggested the vast majority of innovation happens away from end-users and end-products and instead can be found in back-office processes.