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The 2013 Tech 50: Kosta Peric

'Swift is well known as a shared utility for messaging,' says the company's head of innovation.

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Kosta Peric
Head of Innovation
Swift
(PNR)

At age ten, Kosta Peric, whose father was a United Nations geophysicist, left what was then Yugoslavia and spent the next seven years acquiring and using a second language (French) in faraway Burundi. Today, at 51, Peric draws upon that formative confrontation with the new and unusual in his work as head of innovation at Swift. The Belgium-based cooperative is principally responsible for an international messaging network serving 10,000 banks, securities firms and corporations. With Innotribe, a program Peric introduced in 2009, Swift has become a hotbed of innovative energy by encouraging “intrapreneurship” internally and by organizing an annual competition for financial technology start-ups that culminates in a championship round at the Swift Sibos convention (to be held in September in Dubai). Innotribe — a name designed to capture the values of “simplicity, innovation and the tribal, group dimension of collaboration” — is a community of 10,000 people participating in “open innovation,” a concept Peric expounded upon in his 2012 book, The Castle and the Sandbox. “Swift is well known as a shared utility for messaging,” says Peric, who joined the company in 1990 and was chief architect of its flagship SwiftNet system before becoming head of innovation in 2008. “The idea now is to make Swift a shared utility for innovation.”


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