Thu, 27 Apr 2023

Innovation is at the heart of BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK. So, in our 50th year, we're not only celebrating our incredible heritage but looking at different ways we can continue innovating at pace in a way that matters for our customers, partners and colleagues.

In the lead up to World Creativity and Innovation Day and the end of UK Fintech Week, we hosted our very first Innovation Week to showcase the various innovations happening across the company.

Over the week, colleagues across our Solihull and Belfast offices were invited to a series of in-person and virtual events to learn more about how we are innovating for our future, innovating for our customers, innovating with data and technology, innovating at pace, and innovating beyond our business.

Day 1 — Innovating for our future

Whilst we have recently celebrated 50 years of pioneering innovation by reflecting on our achievements such as becoming the first retail financial provider to enable mobile top-ups at ATMs, looking ahead to the future is a key focus for our teams.

We have asked ourselves: how can we ensure continued growth for BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK and how can we strengthen our ability to pioneer and drive change for the next 50 years?

In light of this, we began our Innovation Week by focusing on the theme ‘Innovating for our future.’

To kick off the celebrations, our CEO, Stephen Hunt, shared his thoughts on why innovation is important to BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK’s past, present and future. “If we weren’t an innovative business, we wouldn’t be here celebrating our 50th year. Innovation is part of what we do. We get up every morning, we look at ways to change our business, to challenge it for the better so that we can make better products for our customers, better solutions for our partners, and drive more efficiency and better ways of working across our organisation.”

Day 2 — Innovating for our customers

Creating a seamless customer experience is important at BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK and a key area of focus across multiple departments. Innovation plays an integral role in our ability to transform our customer journey and is something that our Chief Customer Officer, Richard Newland, is very passionate about.

Richard opened day two of Innovation Week by sharing his reflections on the importance of innovation to “ensure that we are offering a service that is delighting customers and exceeding their expectations.” Find out more about Richard’s thoughts here.

To showcase exactly how we are innovating for our customers, colleagues were invited to visit seven ‘Creation Innovation’ Stations. At each station, colleagues engaged with interactive presentations about the innovative practices that are transforming and enhancing the customer experience.

The key areas of focus were:

  • Our Creation App and its positive impact on customer experience as it allows customers to manage their finances on the move anytime, anywhere. 
  • How the implementation of optimised risk-based pricing is driving profitability and conversion rates.
  • How we’re revolutionising our finance offer with Creation Flex and Creation Marketplace, providing more flexible solutions to our customers than ever before.
  • The use of technology and software, such as Diligense and SmartHub, which are enabling smarter decisions around finance applications at BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK.
  • How our use of behavioural optimisation and nudge techniques is encouraging responsible finance and customer loyalty.

Day 3 — Innovating with data and digital

Technology has played a fundamental role in BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK’s ability to adapt and implement change over the past 50 years. On day three of Innovation Week, colleagues learned how we’re using data and technology to help us work smarter and faster, as well as improve the experience for our customers, partners and colleagues.

Transformation Director, Jason Wright, alongside Kevin McKenna, Automation Manager, and Daniel Croft, Data Scientist, showcased how technology is influencing the future of work at BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK.

Joining our colleagues was Dominique Duquennoy, Head of Customer Success EMEA at SS&C Blue Prism. Dominique demonstrated how the use of machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics has positively changed the way we work and how it will continue to accelerate our growth in the years to come.

This was particularly effective at providing an educational experience for colleagues, helping them understand how we’re using innovation for good. Plus, the talks helped boost the visibility of practices across the organisation, which can often be overlooked but are vital for making us a leading financial provider.

Day 4 — Innovating at pace

Over the past five decades, we have pioneered, anticipated change and adapted to meet the evolving needs of our customers, partners and colleagues. So, on day four of our Innovation Week, we focused on how we are innovating at pace.

To demonstrate how we're doing this, we held two sessions for our colleagues:

  • Our IT colleagues showcased how we're driving innovation through intelligent monitoring performance solutions, personalised customer experiences and WorkSpace, which is transforming the way we work and much more!
  • Our Strategic Delivery Director Jack Cutts delivered a session on 'being agile' and how we can continue innovating at pace in a way that matters and makes an impact. Some of the Creation App team joined to demonstrate how working in an agile way empowers colleagues and has enabled the team to deliver at record pace.

The day was effective for stimulating discussion about how we continue strengthening and fostering our culture of innovation across the organisation and how we can use tech, smart working and agile thinking to achieve this.

Day 5 — Innovating beyond our business

To celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Day and the end of UK FinTech Week, the focus for the final day of our Innovation Week was how we are innovating beyond our business.

An important part of maintaining our position as one of the UK’s leading financial providers is driving innovation beyond our business and into the community. On day five, we brought this to light by highlighting our collaboration with FinTechs and students.

Hilary Smyth-Allen, Executive Lead at SuperTech WM, started the day by giving us an exclusive download on the key trends from UK Fintech Week, including open finance, quantum leaps, and FinTech for good.

Following this, we heard from Andrea Tittel, Head of Innovation and Propositions, and Ricardo Mantovani, Chief Financial Officer at BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK, on how we have been collaborating with FinTechs through the Serendip programme to respond to three business challenges: chatbots, data visualisation and underwriting. This partnership helped drive innovation beyond our business by challenging thinking in the banking and financial sector, improving financial processes, and providing economic opportunities for emerging fintech businesses.

During the session, Andrea unveiled the next steps for the programme, which we will be announcing soon. Stay tuned on our social channels and website for more updates.

The celebrations didn’t end there! To bring our Innovation Week to a close, we welcomed students from Digital Innovators to get their creative ideas and input on how we can better drive customer loyalty on our Creation App. To do this, we set the students with the challenge and split them into three separate groups so they could brainstorm innovative ideas.

What followed was a ‘Dragons Den’ style event where students presented their ideas to our three ‘dragons’: Susan Farmer, Chief People Officer, Andrea Tittel, Head of Innovation and Propositions, and Ricardo Mantovani, CFO at BNP Paribas Personal Finance. The winning idea has now been shared with our app development team who will explore how we could look to implement it in the app to further enhance the customer experience.

What we’ve learned

After a week of celebrating innovation, our closing thoughts are that innovation is for everyone. Hosting a week dedicated to innovation was important for us at BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK to inform and educate our colleagues on what we’re doing in the field of innovation and to bring our innovative practices to life.

Our CEO, Stephen, reflected: “It was fantastic to have five days showcasing to colleagues what we are doing in the space of innovation, which is very much at the centre of what we do as a business.

“You can really feel the momentum that we've got behind our business, bringing in new techniques and technologies to build better products for our customers and our partners. Going forward, we want to capture all the creativity that this week has created and put in place schemes to enable people to channel this energy in our future change programmes.”

Speaking about Innovation Week, Amar Suemul, Transformation Manager, said: “I’ve learned so much this week that I didn’t know about. It has been great to see how different areas of the business are innovating and to learn more about the amazing work we do! I’d love to see BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK holding more events like this in future.”

Keep up to date with all the latest announcements from BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK via our Twitter and LinkedIn.