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Innovation Updated: 22 Aug 2017

New BBVA Innovation Center in Mexico

Technology, talent and entrepreneurship, the protagonists on Floor 33.

innovation center bancomer mexico technology entrepreneur entrepreneurchip bbva

The Mexican branch of the BBVA Innovation Center, a global initiative already present in Madrid, New York and Bogotá, celebrated the official inauguration of its new premises on Floor 33 of the fabulous BBVA Bancomer Tower on Paseo de la Reforma. The opening was attended by guests from the sector, educational institutions, entrepreneurs, accelerators and incubators, who were greeted by the BBVA Innovation Center manager, Juan Carlos Arroyo.

Talking about the opening of the new premises via video conference from Madrid, Hugo Nájera, general manager of BBVA Digital Banking,  explained that the bank has three prerogatives: mobile first, because mobile devices are what enable the bank to assist customers with their big decisions; big data, because by learning to use data we can identify the key moment in which the bank needs to contact a customer; and openlab, because that is how the fintech startups  and main market players collaborate in increasingly sustainable environments.

“The inauguration of this physical space will enable us to connect with the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, which in turn will allow us to encourage collaboration and integration within that ecosystem," said Nájera.

Meanwhile, Juan Carlos Arroyo explained that the financial sector is immersed in a process of transformation which means that they cannot stand still. The demands of digital banking users are enormous, which makes transformation compulsory. He added that the competition is no longer with other banks but with the great technology players and startups.

Millennial generation

The changes within the bank are largely a response to the millennial generation: more than 50% of those surveyed in this age group expressed a preference for banking with Google, Facebook, Amazon or Apple, whereas only 16% of non-millennials preferred to carry out bank transactions through a technology company.

“The millennials will set the trend for how providers behave. Among this demographic, 53% do not distinguish between one bank and another, 75% have interacted with digital finance channels in the last 12 months, and 75% do not want to visit or have no plans to visit a bank in the next 12 months.   About 90% of productive millennials are online banking customers,” explained Arroyo.

The manager said that transforming processes and products would achieve greater proximity to customers, and that would be a differentiating factor. He added that they have also changed the digital marketing strategy by integrating new distribution models with digital sales.

“Innovation and trends are where the opportunities lie, because of the low investment in research and development. Government institutions should also invest in technology within a more robust regulatory framework to identify talent and ideas, under the Open Innovation initiative," he said.

BBVA innovation centers

The BBVA Innovation Centers were founded four years ago in Madrid, Colombia and the United States, and since then they have received 20,000 visits, carried out 200 events, received one million visits to the website, and have 100,000 followers on Facebook.

The BBVA Innovation Center also promotes initiatives like Open Talent, a flagship event that competes with startups and this year achieved a genuine global impact with a similar level of participation from the different regions. More than 650 projects from around the world were presented with participation from different countries.

“The opening of the BBVA Innovation Center is an excellent pretext for extending deliverables and achievements to the innovation and entrepreneurship community. It is a space with sufficient elements to connect the ecosystem, and very successfully. This physical space is the most natural way of integrating with the ecosystem. The BBVA Innovation Center aims to become a meeting place, a core, designed for the community interested in creating alternatives for global banking, with solutions based on technological innovation and in recognition of Mexican talent,” explained Juan Carlos Arroyo

As Juan Carlos pointed out, the BBVA Innovation Center has three strengths which include open innovation initiatives, hackathons, startup competencies, challenges like the Inadem, as well as conferring financial inclusion awards and undertaking actions that enable it to connect in the traditional way with entrepreneurs, with a physical space to build a community and become a bonding element, a space for showcasing Bancomer digital banking products.

“People can work in this space and treat it as theirs for building, receiving mentoring in an attractive, inspiring space with three strengths: cohesion, meeting point and livinglab . It is also a coworking space. To access it, all people have to do is come to the center and find the first available space. Events are free and no one is going to charge them anything. We will pay all the operating costs because we want it to be used. This is another milestone in BBVA Bancomer digital banking, one of 40 projects. The BBVA Innovation Center is a reality as from today. It is the strength that will enable us to forge ahead with the process," claimed the innovation center manager.

The inauguration of the BBVA Innovation Center was also attended by Nektarios Liolios, general manager of Startupbootcamp FinTech, who said that Mexico had reached the point where it has its own style, its own way of doing things, its own identity, and is leaving aside all external influences to become an incipient ecosystem.

In addition, Adam Royalty and David Janka, experts from the Institute of Design at Stanford University (d-school) ran a workshop for more than 200 people, members of the Mexican ecosystem of developers, entrepreneurs and innovators who are working to create tools and technological applications for use in daily life, in line with the Design Thinking system that proposes a new way of doing things.