2018 BAI Global Innovation Award Finalists
Innovative Accelerator or Incubator
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Albaraka Garaj is located in the Albaraka Headquarters building. One floor of the Albaraka Headquarters building was designed completely from scratch for the entrepreneurs, because the organization believes corporate companies have a lot to learn from the startup ecosystem. Therefore, Albaraka built an acceleration center in its HQ for the entrepreneurs to bring startups to connect with employees for a mutually beneficial business model. The primary goal for Albaraka Garaj is to match the entrepreneurs with the appropriate business units according to the needs of the institution and to ensure common projects are produced, and the main objective that was prioritized was to transfer new technology to Albaraka with strategic collaborations by enabling the entrepreneurs to test their products and conduct Proof of Concept (PoC) studies in a real company environment while introducing new technologies to Albaraka much faster than normal processes previously allowed.
Albaraka Garaj helps startups grow by giving them a playground within an established bank.
In 2016, Arion Bank undertook its largest strategic IT change in methodology and delivery. The formation of Arion Bank’s accelerator, commonly referred to as Digital Future, was a major milestone in better serving its customers and their expectations of more convenient banking.
Prior to 2016, Arion Bank’s IT workflow was somewhat traditional. The project selection process took time and the project outcome did not necessarily meet business demands. Arion Bank decided to change the bank’s IT processes and the IT organizational structure. The premise for change was a focus on customer journeys, more productive and reliable product delivery, the bank as one team, reduced cost over time and increased revenue when applicable.
The bank’s digital journey started with a thinktank of 25 people from various departments who created a general vision of how and why to become digital. The time from the thinktank until the accelerator launchwas around 12 months. The IT organization changed substantially. In 2016, Arion completely outsourced IT operations to a third party, reducing the IT team by 20 percent. The change provided scope for more focus on business and software development.
So far, 15 projects have been delivered and more are in the pipeline. Customer experience has improved, and productivity and sales volume has increased substantially. Each introduction of a new service increases usage of not only the new service itself, but other services as well. Arion Bank committed from the outset to funding the project for at least five years.
Since 2012, ENBD has launched significant financial innovations and reached a huge penetration in its innovative service capabilities. Today, 56 percent of ENBD customers are active digital customers and 92 percent of all transactions are done outside of branches. ENBD believes this success results from digitization and our dedication to innovation development thus we now aim for sustainability and continuity in innovation.
In this regard, Emirates NBD established three initiatives for the innovation program to encourage both internal and external innovation. The first dimension is the innovation triggering idea program, The EDGE, second dimension is the incubator and accelerator of the EDGE program which is the FUTURE LAB, and third dimension is opening up the bank’s innovations to the world with OPEN APIs to innovate together with partners. This collaborative and inclusive approach is unique in ENBD showing the future vision and dedication to innovation by the entire company to achieve solid results.
To trigger innovative solutions and encourage all employees to participate in innovation, ENBD initiated EDGE Innovation program open to all ENBD subsidiaries internationally. Value-added solutions submitted by employees are being evaluated by Innovation Champions jury. After solutions are selected, design and prototyping starts in the Future Lab and newly launched Digital Office, which is an incubation and acceleration hub dedicated to innovation. Lab acts as a strategic think tank and committed to solve problems with innovative approach. Managed and operated by an in-house team of business and technology experts, it involves engaging and co-creating with universities, fintech startups and partners and manages fintech hangouts with dedicated programs. Solution ideas become revenue generating products in Future Lab where ENBD is running multiple projects and innovative ideas are running to production. Lastly, ENBD has launched the Open API platform to enable integration with partners which will complete its open banking ecosystem.