Fostering innovation in a post-coronavirus environment
During lockdown, we spoke to two innovation experts at Barclays – Anthony Macey and Nicole Sandler – about what innovation means to them, and how the coronavirus pandemic has emphasised the need for innovative thinking.
What does innovation mean? For Anthony Macey, it’s all about novelty. “If there’s no novelty, then it’s not really innovative,” he says. “Novelty doesn’t necessarily mean a new invention; it could be doing something new using existing technology.”
As Barclays’ Director of Emerging Technology and an advisor on the subject to governments and regulators around the world, Macey’s role is all about novelty: identifying new approaches such as IoT, VR and blockchain and applying them to banking. For him, the key to innovation is “looking around at how you can make something better and more convenient”.
And leaving things better is something Barclays has to do, says Nicole Sandler, Barclays Head of Digital Policy. “Barclays has to be innovative,” she says. “There have been so many changes in the financial sector over the last five years, let alone the last 300 years, that if Barclays wasn’t innovative it would cease to exist.”
Sandler works with regulators and policymakers to help drive change in a responsible way – a role which has become more important than ever in light of the coronavirus pandemic. “I think what’s been really interesting during this period is how people who may not have thought of innovation and technology as quite so important are suddenly realising how important it actually is,” she says. “When you’re not able to go and see your friends and your family or go to the office, you become very, very reliant on technology.”
Macey agrees: “There are quite a few problems at the moment and that gives people a clarity and a sharper focus on the things they need to solve. That problem solving is key to innovation being successful.”