Barclays Bank has joined a list of multinationals scrambling to increase Kenya’s clout in innovation with a new product development lab in Nairobi.
The lab set up on Thursday will provide a base for local developers to come up with game changing ideas that could change the future of the financial industry.
The bank now joins multinationals such as IBM Research Africa, Nairobi’s technology innovation community iHub, Sub Saharan digital advertisement firm Squad Digital which have incubation labs that provide space and resources to upcoming developers.
“Our innovation initiatives in Africa are a hugely important part of our aim to create a network of strong innovators across the globe – connecting and co-creating together to create the future of financial services,” says Lubaina Manji, Director of Barclays Open Innovation Programme.
The lab is part of Barclays’ global initiative to accelerate development and adoption of new technologies in the financial industry.
In July, Barclays launched an initiative called ‘Rise’ which will enable organisations to develop financial technology solutions to improve interaction with customers.
The product lab is a partnership between Barclays Kenya, Moringa School, and global start-up investment firm, Nest.
Moringa School will offer training on design thinking and user research while Nest will manage the program and provide mentorship.
“The launch of this program attests to our commitment as a company to invest in youth-focused initiatives that accelerate access to new innovations in the industry,” Barclays Kenya Marketing and Corporate Relations Director Caroline Ndung’u said.
The first phase kicks off October 19 and will incorporate a 10-week training program of local developers. They will be tasked to come up with superior innovations.
GLOBAL RISE INNOVATION HUBS
Barclays will provide resources available in its Global Rise Innovation Hubs across the world as well mentorship from the Barclays global open innovation teams in London, Manchester, New York and other planned locations in the Middle East, Africa and India.
“Throughout the entire program, each developer will be tasked to conduct market research, user research, building product prototypes and pitch their solutions in front of Barclay’s senior executives and program partners,” Ms Ndung’u added.
The best innovator will be awarded $1,000 and will continue working with Barclays on the innovation. Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge initiative also launched recently invites technology enthusiasts aged between 18 and 35 years to innovate in supply chain management using