2018 BAI Global Innovation Award Finalist

BAI Global Innovation Awards 2018 finalist Albaraka Bank

Innovative Accelerator or Incubator

Albaraka Turk Participation Bank – Turkey
Albaraka Garaj Skyrocketed the Innovation in Albaraka by Transforming the Corporate Culture Using Groundbreaking Technologies of Startup Ecosystem

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.

Albaraka Garaj team photo

The Problem

Albaraka is a well accomplished bank with over 30 years of experience, but sometimes falls short when it is comes to innovation. Albaraka was founded as the first participation bank in Turkey and leaded the industry for a long time but after a while, it struggled to compete with its competitors. In last couple of years Albaraka reshaped its entire organization to focus on innovation and lead the participation banking industry again. Albaraka established an idea management platform to turn new ideas into innovation, but after experience showed that many of these ideas do not turn to action, we established a intrapreneurship program to support employees with ideas and strong will to create a business from their ideas.

With intrapreneurship many more ideas turned into action but we were still restricted to our employee poll to innovate. We needed to expand our innovation pool, we wanted to integrate successful disruptive innovators and startups into our bank. With the help of startups we could update ourselves and react much faster to the fintech ecosystem and transform our corporate culture in a more agile and flexible manner to help nurture innovation within the bank. It is also very crucial in the sense of introducing new technologies to Albaraka and the transfer of know-how from startup ecosystem.

The Solution

We established the Albaraka Garaj Startup Accelaration Center to address our pain points and to function as a bridge between startups and Albaraka Bank. In Albaraka Garaj we provide startups with benefits like training, mentorship, consultancy, grants and most importantly, we give them the opportunity to test product with PoCs inside Albaraka Bank.

First we hold meetings with every department to decid long term targets of the bank prior to selecting the startups. We then decide which fields of the startup ecosystem to focus on then select the startups accordingly. It was of special importance for us to completely redesign a floor from our headquarters for the startups. Albaraka Garaj targets to transform the corporate culture by adding the dynamics and agility of the startup world to the bank structure and to create a synergy in the same environment with the Albaraka employees and entrepreneurs.

The Outcome

In the first term of Albaraka Garaj, nine startups were selected out of 455 applicants. Our seven startups worked on 17 different PoC projects and collaborated very closely with various departments in the bank. Four projects with successful outcomes proceeded forward and Albaraka bought the products of these four startups, becoming the first customer and an important reference for these four startups. These projects are as follows:

First, biometric signature solution of Techsign that is in pilot usage in Albaraka’s three branches. After the pilot phase, it will be used in all of Albaraka branches abolishing the whole paper operation. For the first time in Turkey instant check of authenticity of the signature is also possible with Techsign’s solution, allowing Albaraka a yearly savings of 1 million TL. After regulation is ready that number will quadruple.

The second is the gamification platform of the Inooster. It is being used by Albaraka’s Collection Team to improve motivation and performance. It has increased banks collection rate by 40 percent. It will also be used by all of the Albaraka’s sales team after the integration is completed.

The third is the chatbot solution, Rubicio. Our Human Value Department is using Rubicio to answer our employee’s questions and has the ability to issue some legal documents instantly. With the help of the chatbot, the Human Value Department reduced the number of incoming calls by 65 percent and increased the productivity of its employees.

Our fourth project is the VR education project, Nihiliovision. Nihiliovision worked with the Albaraka Education Department in creating a VR educational movie for branch personals.