The Innovators of Barclays: a unified mindset
“Innovation is a change in the way you do things, whether it's big or small. It doesn't always have to be transformational. Sometimes it's simply a change in the way you do things day-to-day.” Throughout her life, Mariquit Corcoran, New York-based Managing Director for Partnerships and Programmes in Barclays’ Group Innovation Office, has been fascinated by how innovation can drive efficiency – from healthcare to travel to finance. She explains what innovation means to her, at Barclays and beyond.
When I was 10 years old, I wanted to be a doctor. So, I walked round with a first aid kit telling everybody I was going to heal them. But the thing I was most excited about at the time was figuring out how to distribute medicine to more people.
Now I’m older, I spend a lot of my time travelling – in airports, on trains, in traffic. I think of how much time people spend commuting and know there’s got to be a better, more efficient way to do things. In both healthcare and travel, I know that solutions will come through innovation and technology, and lead to more efficient distribution.
Barclays is a vast and global organisation, but the unified mindset is innovation
Transferring this to banking, there’s an ability to access and share information today that would have been unimaginable a generation ago. I think back to my wedding, which was not that long ago, and on my honeymoon I carried physical cheques all over Hawaii for two weeks because I wanted to make sure I could safely deposit them when we got back home. But in the present day, all I would need to do – with these powerful computers we carry around in our pockets – is take a few pictures, and within minutes those same cheques would have been deposited to my bank account. To me, that distribution is incredible.
Is Barclays innovative?
Barclays is a vast and global organisation, but the unified mindset is innovation. We issued the first British credit card, had the first ATM, and promoted the first female bank manager. We’ve always had that history of innovation and that continues today, whether it's partnering with external technology companies, creating new offerings to differentiate ourselves, or making strategic investments in new players. All this informs the strategy of the Accelerator programmes I oversee in London, New York and Tel Aviv.
There are new challenges, and the challenger and neobanks are, I think, here to stay. I predict that will mean more partnerships between challenger and incumbent banks, including Barclays, and I see exponential growth in our ability to work with fintechs and startups. This will ultimately enable us to deliver better products, better customer experiences, and just to do things faster.
We launched something called Female Executives in Fintech earlier this year. With that, we’re doing what we can to build a community with women executives from our networks and our clients here at Barclays, then bring that community together with women investors in our network as well as female entrepreneurs. Getting this group together and giving access between these entrepreneurs, investors and executives has been transformational for all parties.
Also, I’m very excited to be involved with the Female Innovators Lab by Barclays and Anthemis. That’s a new programme that we’ve launched in New York, in which we are looking for women entrepreneurs who we can support and ultimately help build successful companies.
Banking, finance and technology are all areas in which women are significantly underrepresented and that's a fact. On top of the initiatives I’m involved in, I try to address this through spending a lot of time mentoring, speaking at panels and delivering keynotes for events designed to empower and support women. I'm trying to do my part in making sure I help improve the balance.