Antonio Herráiz is a firm believer in innovation focused on results, especially if it generates a positive impact for people. Thanks to him, more than 7,000 of the Group’s employees across the globe have attended BBVA’s Process Academy.
Antonio is an innovator by nature and training. Before joining BBVA, he set up his own technology company. The adventure did not produce the results that he had hoped for, but it gave him an experience that he takes to work every day—he says that it’s often more important than what he learned in a classroom. “I am a computer engineer who specializes in artificial intelligence. Although what really helped me the most was creating my own company, my own technology. Because when you make a mistake and then you have to solve the same problem again, it gives you flexibility and confidence when making decisions,” he says.
“People don’t innovate because they don’t know how; we do, so let’s leverage that and innovate”
This experience led him to create the BBVA Process Academy. A complicated project in principle because, as its own founders recognize, “it is a dry and challenging subject.” Nevertheless, it has created quite a buzz among the participants. “We have done it quickly and with limited resources, thanks to being innovative and lots of enthusiasm,” says Fernando Bellón, Head of Transformation and Development, who leads the team Antonio works on.
Seriousness and innovation
“He is very serious, hardworking and responsible. You have no idea how many ideas he comes up with every day,” says Fernando. “Antonio always says that people don’t innovate because they don’t know how; since we do, let’s leverage that and innovate to create value. He always encourages us to do many new things that break molds and generate a much bigger impact than other classical or traditional initiatives.”
“Five years ago, from scratch, we designed the first academic ecosystem in the financial sector”
Antonio believes the key is to share knowledge and ideas, so that everyone involved wins. “Five years ago, from scratch, we designed the first academic ecosystem in the financial sector, with the aim of giving people the training they need to redesign the future of our industry,” he says. His latest challenge has been to create a program, in this case with the Instituto de Empresa—one of the most prestigious international business schools in the world—in which all the players in the sector will have a voice—technology, banks and fintech startups—and the same goal: identify the keys to our business going forward. “And when we talk about business, we also mean people and technology.”
Innovation is the key
In his opinion, innovation is crucial: “It plays a fundamental role in the uncertain environment we find ourselves in. The fact that you can generate a great impact with a small idea makes the search for innovation critical. And not only on a personal level, but also for companies.”
“I realized that innovation in the financial sector was synonymous with BBVA and that’s why I decided to work at the bank”
Antonio carries a passion for innovation in his veins, but it is always focused on improving people’s lives. That’s why he joined BBVA: “I started in the bank seven years ago through a consulting company. A year after I joined the bank, I asked for a leave of absence to do an MBA. That’s when I realized that innovation in the financial sector was synonymous with BBVA, and that’s why I decided to work at the bank.”
Since he came on board, he has seen many changes. “We are in an environment of transformation. The culture is different, and so is the use of technology in business. And we have gone from distributing products and services in a physical way to also doing it digitally.”
And it is precisely that constant evolution that he considers the best part of his job. “BBVA is an exciting place to work, where we have to adapt to changes every day, and we have a culture that is not only generating opportunities for others, but also for the team.”
Antonio is always looking for ways to make the most of what the present offers us, but always with an eye on the future.