Unbound Conference in London Reveals Tool to Unleash Innovation: Launchpad by Barclays

Kicking off on December 1, the two-day unBOUND London is UK’s most exciting innovation festival which connects leaders, brands and growth-stage companies from digital ecosystems around the world. Aimed to foster innovation, the festival gathered entrepreneurs, brands and global corporations with disruptive technology and creative insights to explore new opportunities.

The latest trends were discussed and showcased during the two days of the festival in various formats, including panels, keynote speeches and a series of satellite events like Cyber Security Roundtable, VC & Accelerator Forum, IOT Zone & Gadget & Technology Expo, etc. Around 2,000 entrepreneurs, growth-stage companies, corporate & brand executives, media influencers, investors and startups from leading digital ecosystems around the world gathered at the conference to unleash creativity and innovation.

Active engagement in social media briefly chronicled the great experience companies and participants had at the festival and the valuable ideas they took away.

Notable sponsors supported the event, among which were Barclays, Cisco, NASDAQ, Unilever, Intel, Ogilvy Labs and others.

One of the most exciting announcements at the conference came from Barclays. Bank unveiled Launchpad—the first financial service in the UK that gives Barclays customers the opportunity to try out and give feedback on new features and app ideas, helping shape the future development of digital solutions for the bank.

The new service will be available to thousands of 4.5 million Barclays mobile banking app users as a test to collect feedback and usage trends. For a banking industry giant, the decision to rely on the customers to transform the product is a very innovative strategy demonstrating genuine interest in innovation and desire to make a positive change in the industry. Collected feedback will be used to improve the app and offer features that customers really want.

Aside from customer feedback collection tool, Launchpad will serve as a platform for FinTech startups and partners to collaborate and introduce new features ideas to Barclays customers.

The announcement from Barclays was aligned with the brightest minds and startups brought together at the conference to participate in the unBOUND hackathon, which was designed to create compelling FinTech products and exciting customer experiences.

Across both days of the conference, registered teams had access to stubbed banking APIs as well as a prototype Launchpad mobile app and competed to come up with the most exciting customer innovation. Judges selected three winning teams—CyberDuck, TallySticks and PayKey—that were granted a chance to interview for entry into the Barclays Accelerator programme, an intensive 13-week programme designed to accelerate their startup and the chance to potentially work with Barclays to further develop their winning idea.

In the official press release, Head of Digital Banking at Barclays, Ruchir Rodrigues, shared his insights on the way innovations have to be discovered and implemented: Seeing first-hand the power that collaboration can have for startups, we recognize that we have a role to play in partnering with them to boost innovation and growth. We also think more needs to be done to bring customers into the heart of product and service development so that we can give them more of what they want and need. That’s why we’ve developed the Barclays Launchpad app which enables customers to input into new features, as well as running a hackathon at unBound London, through which we brought together some of the most exciting digital innovators to co-create and work with us to the benefit of startups and our customers.

Launchpad is not the first move from Barclays to unleash innovation. Earlier this year, the bank launched a £100-million fund to support UK tech companies. The bank has been a pioneer in cutting-edge strategies and technologies. A UK-first, Barclays implemented peer-to-peer and peer-to-business payments capabilities that use twitter handles to send money. Barclays has also stayed on the forefront of other social payment strategies, such as beacon technology.