Company Spotlight

ROAM CEO On Encouraging Innovation From All Employees

Do Eric Ries’ Lean Startup principles apply to payments companies?

That’s what an impressive group of six executives from the payments world tried to figure out during Day Two of The Innovation Project 2013. Joined on stage by Ries himself, the panelists debated whether payments was too complex an industry for Lean tenants to apply, how to best foster innovation in a payments company and more.

Those on both sides of the arguments made compelling points, but according to Ken Paull, CEO of ROAM and one of the executives joining Ries panel, the main takeaway form the panel was clear.

“I definitely fall on the side that Eric’s principles do apply to practically any payments company that I can think of,” Paull said. spoke with Paull to follow up on his experience at IP2013, as well as give him a forum to respond to one of Ries’ more controversial comments.

Towards the end of the panel, Ries stated that he viewed senior leadership at many companies as the ones who are often most responsible for inhibiting innovation. According to Ries, since senior leaders are programmed to purge many bad ideas on a daily basis – likening them to the “immune system” of a company – it was inevitable that such leaders would miss some good ideas as well.

Paull claimed that he actually agreed with many of Ries’ points, and that the conversation has made him ponder his role in fostering innovation at ROAM.

“As far as what I’m doing in my company, I would agree with him that many of us are trying to put processes in place to try and have some discipline within the organization,” Paull said. “And I think his book and his talk really makes one examine how many of these processes really inhibit innovation in terms of stifling some of the workers.

I really left the conference thinking about what actions I could take to encourage innovation within all levels of the company. That’s one of the calls to action that he harked out at the end, was trying to look at ways that every person at every level of the company can innovate.”

To hear more Paull on his reaction to Ries’ panel, his favorite takeaways from IP2013 and more, listen to the full podcast below.


*If you have trouble with the audio player above, click here.

Ken Paull


Ken has over 20 years in senior management roles in the electronic payments industry including Senior Vice President at RBS Lynk”¨(now WorldPay), Vice President at Triton Systems and General Manager at VeriFone. He was responsible for building and rapidly growing what is now WorldPay’s national account payments division while also directing the turnaround of what had been a declining ATM processing business. While at Triton, the company surpassed NCR as the second largest domestic ATM supplier and also became the global leader in retail ATM deployments. At VeriFone, Ken built their major account, retail division which has become one of the largest segments of their business. Most recently, Ken was ROAM Data’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Prior to joining ROAM, Ken served on the Board of Directors of Access to Money, as Director of Market Platform Dynamics and President”¨of PAX US. A native of the Boston area, Ken holds a B.S. in Marketing and Communications ”¨from Babson College, as well as an MBA in Telecommunications Management from Golden”¨Gate University.



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