IntroductionTry it for yourself: a Google search for the term innovation brings back one hundred million results. According toCarlson Curtis, Director of the Stanford Research Institute, “the concept has become a source of theory, investiga-tion, essays and unending debates in the media and there’s a legion of consultants, publications and public discus-sions about the virtues of innovation as strategy.”The BBVA Group has innovation written into its genetic code and considers it to be a state of mind directed atcreating the conditions necessary to investigate, create and apply the results of an innovative process in relation toour reason for being: the clients of the Bank.We also know that, as writer and popular scientist commentator Eduard Punset says, “innovation doesn’t happenby itself; it must be promoted,” the Area of Group Innovation is committed to this task and since a few months ago,officially has a physical reference point: the BBVA Innovation Center.The speed at which changes occur these days, the ability to influence consumers, the need to listen and under-stand them, the importance of environment and collaborative support…all these things motivate us to work tobuild for the future of the financial industry from our area of Innovation.It’s about understanding what clients want and using it to inspire our researchers and creative staff so that they, inturn, can incorporate this inspiration into the Bank’s products.WE CANNOT DO IT ALONEThe way we understand innovation, if we want it to be disruptive and to provide real value, we know that we needto have the best minds from every area of expertise. There is no one single way to see the world and act upon itand no one, as brilliant and capable as they may be in realizing their ideas, knows enough to be in possession of theperfect plan.The experimentation, investigation, analysis and creative spark offered by experts from multiple fields, such asthose that BBVA Innovation works with, move forward with co-creation as a value and main driving force. In thecourse of our projects the perceptions of each participant establish fertile ground for cultivating ideas where noth-ing is taken for granted.One of the already present outcomes of this look at the future is ABIL, the self-service financial terminal createdin conjunction with the Design and innovation global consultant IDEO and brought to fruition with the support ofpartners like NCR and Fujitsu, amongst others.The original objective of the project was the migration of teller-services users to a self-service channel in order tomaximize the commercial potential of this medium.Even in the first stages of creation we realized that, more than broadening the features of the ATM, it would be nec-essary to take the existing functions and make them more simple, human and easy. The ATM was not made moretechnological. It was made more human; thanks to a design that contemplated a deep perception of the user.It has been, in the end, a project that has taken four years of research and creative force that has brought about aproduct that incorporates this “new way of seeing things” that BBVA Innovation is after.Now it’s time for the clients to have their say.Beatriz Lara Bartoloméchief innovaton officer of bbva
Another way of doing thingsDISRUPTIVE INNOVATION?Innovation involves constant improvement of the products in relation to their previous versions. Beyond that, dis-ruptive innovation changes the patterns of the industry, business or ways of thinking, offering a fresh perspective.Frank Moss, former director of the Media Lab at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), ensures that “the his-tory of disruptive innovation shows that great ideas don’t come from making safe bets. They are never the result ofincremental reasoning. In reality they come from thinking about things in a way that no one before has.” Disruptiveinnovation does not come about through spontaneous generation. In order for the idea that changes everythingto be produced, outlined and carried out a conjunction and blend of aptitudes, competencies and environments,which act to catalyze progress, are necessary.“At BBVA Innovation we’re convinced that the combined knowledge offered by an assortment of minds is alwaysmore rich and valuable than the ideas of just one person,” points out Gustavo Vinacua, Director of the BBVA Inno-vation Center.Disruptive innovation is brought about when differentpeople with a variety of trajectories, abilities, visions The BBVA Innovationand methodologies come together to share theirideas, combining and enriching them, and extracting Center is a hotbed whereall their worth. all the proposals andIn order to do this, the innovative process requires a future bets of the entitygathering of thinkers and brilliant teams from dispa-rate disciplines to figure out how to change things: are germinated and canconcept creators, designers, ergonomic experts,engineers, and those who study the predictable and grow in order to add valueineffable elements of human behavior… to their clients and toThus, speaking about innovation and the agents whobring it about implies crossing the traditional disciplin- society as a whole.ary borders and involves a break with the convention-al idea about the type of minds that should be put to the task of solving a particular problem.The molecular biologist Linus Pauling, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954 for his dedication todescribing the nature of chemical bonds, once stated, “the best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.”So from any trends forum and management style analysis it is agreed upon that creativity prevails as the differen-tiating element in leadership. Not a stale creativity limited to the traditional environment of R&D applicable to newproducts and services, but an approach that is transversal and infinitely wide-reaching to permeate managementmethods, the relationship between human capital, compensation policies and experiences of consumption and theexchange of information.“Nowadays engineers, programmers and scientists are capable of creating almost everything. The question hasshifted from the R&D oriented ‘What can we do?’ to the client centered ‘What should we do?’” illustrates PascallSoboll, director at the Munich office of IDEO, design and innovation global consultant.Along these lines Soboll assures that the innovative initiative alone is only as good as the question that you pro-pose to answer.BBVA’s wish is to invest in the seeding of new ideas and to discover the questions that should be formulated in ahorizon with no limits, just possibilities. The BBVA Innovation Center is a hotbed where all proposals and commit-
ments to the future of the entity are germinated and can grow in order to add value to their clients and to societyas a whole.The fruit of four years of research, multidisciplinary teamwork, market observation and the desire to accompanyclients in a relationship that never stops redefining itself, BBVA Innovation presents ABIL, a device for which theterm ATM is perhaps constrictive. Self-service Banking Device? Information and Transaction Terminal? Users willfind their own way of naming it.From BBVA Innovation we say, come in, see and enjoy a new experience of self-service that is simpler, more humanand more flexible.Welcome to ABIL“BBVA, we work for a better future for people”40 years is everything “Starting the 2nd of September, 1969 our doors will open at 9:00 am…and they will never close again!”With this announcement, The Chemical Bank captured the public’s attention in communicating the installation ofwhat may have been the world’s first ATM. aMay have been because there is disagreement as to the true authorship of the device.The Chemical Bank’s system was created by Don Wetzel, a gentleman from Texas. Tired of lining up at his bank andlosing his lunch hour to take out cash, he thought that the tasks of a human teller (cashing checks, taking deposits,giving balances and performing transfers between accounts) could be automated. Thanks to the trust of Docutel,the company that he worked for and that offered him an “advance” of four million dollars, Wetzel built the first sys-tem capable of substituting human tellers through use of a magnetic card containing each client’s information and a machine that delivered money and kept a record ofGeorge Simjian, Armenian transactions.born US immigrant, had The Smithsonian Foundation recognizes Wetzel and Docutel as the inventors of the ATM (Automated Telleralready registered two- Machine), or at least as the first patent holders for one.dozen patents of an ATM At this point Luther George Simjian appears to take his place as a pioneer. This Armenian who immigratedprototype by 1939. to the United States already had two-dozen patents registered for an ATM prototype by 1939. He offered his invention to the New York based Citicorp, whotried it for a period only to later dismiss it: it was only used by those who didn’t want to be seen by bank employees,endowing ATM use with a feeling of being for “ruffians”— read: prostitutes and gamblers.This type of machine existed in Tokyo in the 1960s, but little more is known about it.We direct ourselves to another world financial center from where we also have news of automated banking: Lon-don, 1967, Barclays. These are the coordinates of the creation of John Shepard-Barron, a Scottish employee of DeLa Rue who was in the habit of taking out cash on Saturday mornings for his weekly expenses.THE IMPORTANCE OF COCOA IN THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRYOne day in 1965, Shepard-Barron arrived one minute late to the bank and began turning over the idea of obtaining
money without needing to have a human operator, just like he could get the chocolate bar that he had been eatingfrom a vending machine. Gravitational physics has Newton’s apple and self-service banking its cocoa.Two years later Barclays successfully took on Shepard-Barron’s initiative. The card with a magnetic strip didn’t existyet and in its place the user introduced a check with mildly radioactive material, punched in a four-digit PIN and theATM would give them ten pounds.By 1971, ATMs could check balances and take deposits as well as withdrawals, and in 1974 the first ATM began towork in a branch of a Spanish bank. It was in Toledo, at Banco Popular, and by then the radioactive checks were nolonger necessary: the plastic card began to take its predominant role.It was also in 1974 that the first ATMs connected to a network began to work. Until then the service was only avail-able for preferred clients because, since the machines were not connected and could only give a fixed quantity ofmoney, the bank needed prior assurance that the client had enough funds to cover the transaction.ALMOST TWO MILLIONAfter 40 years of commercial history, the ATM has barely evolved apart from some technical improvements. Todaythere are more than 1.7 million ATMs in the world. The Japanese are especially fond of this method of taking outmoney. In 2007, the country of Japan had 14,000 machines for every million inhabitants, bringing the total numberof machines in the country to 58,600.The average ATM performs approximately 300 transactions a day, which go from the classic withdrawal to re-charging prepaid mobile phone balances, updating bank books, providing balance and transaction information,taking deposits and there’s even the possibility of doing transfers. As for the average withdrawal, it’s about 100euros.This is the context for the arrival of ABIL, a disruptive innovation built on reinventing the experience of the user inorder to make its way to those who do not use ATMs and to broaden its use for those clients with a more sophis-ticated profile. Take for example: Why are 83% of deposits made with the teller when ATMs have had that optionincorporated for years? Could it be due to the fact that the man-machine relationship existent until now and estab-lished through an archaic interface refers to a static and unchanging universe?With ABIL, this and much more has changed forever.Co-creation as a modelWith 150 years of history, BBVA knows something about banking and about what people like and don’t like in theirinteractions with an organization that they trust.When, additionally, they have it clear that innovation and creativity breathe life into the organizations of the future,it is necessary to put to work all this capital of tradition, values and knowledge together with the capabilities of thebest experts in each field of reference.BBVA Innovation identified that, in spite of the ATM being a key piece in the relationship between bank and client,its appearance and functionality have experienced barely any changes in 40 long years.“If something works, don’t change it,” all right, but to the point of ignoring the revolution of the interfaces of man-machine communication? Why settle for an underutilization of ATMs if behind that screen there are so many morepossibilities to make the self-service experience easier and richer?BBVA understands innovation as a state of mind and that’s because they are conscious that there isn’t just one “cor-
rect” way of doing things, and that nobody knows enough to be in possession of the perfect plan. If they wanted torevolutionize self-service banking through a new kind of terminal, today brought to fruition with ABIL, they neededthe best from every field.The experimentation had to be coherent with the values of the company and for that reason they chose a projectleader from within BBVA Innovation to act as a reference and guide during each phase of the process, but alwayswith co-creation as the preeminent value.Julio Pérez Piña is the leader of the ABIL project in the Innovation-Lab at BBVA Innovation, and during four yearshe has orchestrated the processes with the idea that “providing space for ideas to grow and come into being in aspecific product, understanding that you always work better and get better results when you combine the creativepotential of multiple experts.”In order to create and develop ABIL, BBVA Innovation added to their own experience with that of: IDEO, globaldesign and innovation consultancy – concept and design creator –, NCR – as manufacturing engineer – and Fujitsu– interface developer for man-machine communication. Intel, Microsoft and DNX also provided their technologyand knowledge.CONCEPTUAL PHASE: IDEOThe focus of IDEO is known as “design thinking” and it involved applying a process of people-centered design toany type of project. While until now it has only been valued by creative or artistic professions, design thinking istaught today in business schools as a response to complex strategic challenges in a variety of sectors.Change through designAs Pascal Soboll, director of IDEO in Munich, where ABIL was created, explains, “design thinking starts with an ob-
servation of what is real. It is rooted in human behavior and needs. It allows for basing decisions on reality insteadof theory or assumptions. In the course of the project the perceptions establish a fertile ground for cultivatingideas where nothing is presumed.”BBVA had the initial idea: revolutionize self-service banking through a terminal that is radically different. “In thecourse of the project, IDEO realized that the limitation of the interaction between client and ATM wasn’t the infor-mation, services or advantages offered. The failure was in how these were presented,” explains Matteo Signorinileader of the ABIL project at IDEO.Many are the clients who perceived that the machines weren’t sufficiently intuitive, trustworthy or transparent. Theobjective of the project has always been migrating human teller users to the self-service channel, thereby maximiz-ing the commercial capacity of the medium. Pursuing this idea, the design team realized that beyond broadeningthe features of the ATM, it would be necessary to make it so that the extant functions were simpler, more humanand easier. The ATM was not made more technological. It was made more human.“On this platform we could broaden the features, advantages and future offers of self-service thanks to the rein-forcement of trust experienced through design,” Julio Pérez Piña adds.The most radical examples of innovation, regardless of the technology they incorporate, are always designed withdeep insights about the consumer. It is about reinventing experiences: from the mop to Apple’s iPod.In fact, the danger lies in losing sight of the human need and being excessively centered on technology. “The rela-tionship with the client goes beyond marketing purposes. It helps to develop a relevant offer and this has been thecase with ABIL,” Signorini comments.When it came to discovering all the commercial possibilities of a self-service channel for BBVA, IDEO observedand interviewed regular ATM users. “We did the same with people who had never used one as with clients whoserelationship with the bank was exclusively through the ATM. To reveal the limitations of the offer it isn’t enough toresearch the target audience, you also have to consider the extremes,” explains Matteo Signorini.For Signorini, “innovation is the blank space between multiple disciplines, unexplored spaces put into relation andvalue. IDEO has ample experience in innovating products, services and strategies. That is our business focus: cre-ate and implement disruptive innovations; devise things that don’t exist. In the case of ABIL the concept of the ATMexisted, but we looked for a new meaning, a new experience.”The relationship with BBVA was completely fluid. According to those involved: “the bank gave us room to do whatwe liked. With creativity as its driving force but also with the tenacity and patience necessary for the long haul,”comments Matteo Signorini.Julio Pérez Piña points out that “the nature of these projects, which are long and consume many resources, in-volves a relationship of mutual trust.”Up to 30 professionals from multiple profiles have worked on diverse phases of the conceptual development ofABIL under the supervision of a core team of seven people on behalf of IDEO: Communication designers, Interac-tion designers, Industrial designers, experts in the human factor…all without losing sight of the Design Intent, thebenefit for the user, “this must never be lost in the different phases. Time limits should not stifle this simplicity andinitial utility,” concludes Signorini.FROM THEORY TO PRACTICEGetting startedNCR’s work in creating ABIL was nothing less than designing and building the devices that IDEO was designing concep-tually. “The three greatest challenges in this project were the design and manufacturing of the shuttle or mechanicalarm so that all the transactions were delivered to the client through a single opening, the tilt or interface at a 90º anglefrom the wall, and data encryption within the screen,” explains Vicente Amores, Global Director for BBVA at NCR.
Overcoming the obstacles along the way was possible thanks to the work and efforts of the firm’s engineers, whoknew how to interpret the desires of the bank and apply them to their creation feats. “The challenge was gettingthat perfect balance between innovative design and the efficiency and effectiveness in the devices, and it’s beenachieved,” states Amores.This project involved structures of NCR in Spain, Scotland, Hungary and the United States, comprising a broadteam of design engineers, analysts, programmers, technical directors, field engineers, and production, purchasingand commercial network personnel.The project was managed by a leader put in charge of coordinating all the multifunctional teams that participatedwithin NCR as well as interacting with the different units of the BBVA Team: technology, design, business…The two faces of the mirrorFor its part, Fujitsu undertook a dual role in the creation of the ABIL project: development of the machine-usercommunication interface and creation of the application that connects the ATM with the backend of the Bank.“For Fujitsu it has been quite a challenge to bring about such an advanced development in terms of interactivityand self-service,” explains Mario Monge, Key Account Manager of BBVA at Fujitsu.The know how of the company in Spain and Japan in the area of self-service engineering and application develop-ment came into play, always following the design premises of IDEO. In the Madrid laboratory a part of the frontendengineering and the interface was created and the branch in Barcelona developed the intermediate communica-tions devices.“The ABIL interface is a living application that incorporates new features. Future uses of NFC (Near Field Communi-cation), a close range wireless protocol, is being considered for operating without a card through a mobile phoneand making micropayments,” Monge continues.The result in the eyes of the user is an application that is easy, customizable and accessible for which Fujitsu hasworked hand in hand with BBVA Innovation in all its laboratories.
We think of the peopleABIL AND YOU. 5 USE MINI-HISTORIESLet’s see, an ATM. Car has to go in a blue zone andI’m flat out of change. I hope the ATM can give mesome bills smaller than 20s – just dreaming…And I’m already late and I could have left my projectportfolio in the car, yes, for sure, now I’ve got to go CELIAback and put the parking ticket on the dashboard. I’m GRAPHIC DESIGNERalways hauling around so many things…I could use acouple more arms. 27 YEARS OLDOrganization, Celia, organization.BBVA…sure, that works. But, where’s the ATM? Ah,that’s it. How elegant. And I’m not going to have to tryto hold my portfolio between my knees with a sideshelf made just for that purpose. And I can also putmy purse down and not feel like I’m being watched.Touchscreen…hmm, this looks like a giant smart-phone. Who designed this, Sarah Jessica Parker?Insert card here…Wow! How great! It shows up on the screen!And who are you handsome? The hero? You’re going to help me? Me? Interface Queen? Thanks, but I’m goingstraight for the money. I can choose the bill size? Look at that. Is this a joke? Where’s the hidden camera? ATM…but this is different. —Come on, Hugo. Here’s the ATM. JULIÁN —Me, me, me. —You, you, what? Come on little guy. Look how cute LAWYER this little table is next to the screen…pretty cool, huh? 38 YEARS OLD You want to set your toy down there? This doesn’t have any buttons. Let’s see, I’m not so HUGO great with this touchscreen stuff. The little guy knows 3 YEARS OLD more, he even goes up to the TV when the credits are rolling on his cartoons and tries to fast forward through them by dragging the image like he does on his mom’s mobile phone. —Okay, Hugo, you going to help me out? Look, this man inside says he’s going to help. What big buttons. Hit that one. —More.—No, that’s it. Now it’s giving back my card. Look how it comes out and, Ta-da! We’re done.—Again.—Okay buddy, let’s take a look at the account balance. Press there. Now there. That’s it.—Again.—Well, all right. Let’s take a look at…the weather forecast, okay. Press there again. Look how many suns, but Satur-day it’s going to rain. Okay, let’s get going.—Again.
What a long line. And I don’t see Carlos. Maybe hewent out for a coffee? Maybe he’s sick? I like doing mytransactions with him; he’s so nice. I can ask all thethings I want and he never gets impatient.And what if I make the deposit through the ATM? CLARAWhat a mess. Between the envelope coming out andputting it in the right slot, the receipt coming out RETIREDsomewhere else…that is if it has the paper to give you 70 YEARS OLDa receipt, sometimes you can’t even get that…But this looks different. Is it really an ATM? Where arethe buttons? It doesn’t have any.Well, while I’m standing in line, let’s see if I can figureout something so technological.Card goes in here…but if I’m putting it in the screen Imust be doing something wrong…Ah, there it is, that’sincredible!!It shows up on the screen!!Choose transaction: deposit. Insert money here. In the same place? And there it is again on the screen! But this isgreat…what peace of mind!Let’s see. The receipt also comes out at the same place.Hey, I like this thing and it’s so easy. What else can it do? I’m glad that someone finally realized. And it’s not just the access ramp to public places. It’s taking into account that a wheelchair occupies a certain amount of space. And that we live in a seated position. That RODRIGO we’re thankful when our knees and arms don’t bump CIVIL SERVANT against the wall that the ATM is built into or into the ATM itself. That we’d prefer to not have to reach our 56 YEARS OLD arms out in an awkward positions in order to use the keypad or screen. How nice that someone considered us for such an everyday object. And such an easy way of fixing it. Common sense and design. Thanks.I don’t have enough cash for a taxi to the airport.ATM? Ah, there’s a BBVA…and where’s the machine?Is this it? ERICIt looks more like a terminal for tourist information.ABIL…sounds familiar. I think I read something in FINANCIAL DIRECTORThe Banker about these prototypes, sure. A step FROM AUSTRALIA ONforward in self-service banking, design thinking,new user experience…But wasn’t everything already A BUSINESS TRIPinvented? 42 YEARS OLDLet’s see if you’re really as good as all that.Okay, the design is justification alone.It allows for total privacy. Sure, it’s not inside the walland you can cover it like a protective screen…sim-plicity for the client, complex engineering behind it.That implies a tremendous effort in design. Interesting.And there’s not a ton of slots. Strange.
And on the side-shelf I can set my briefcase down and a disabled person can get up close and operate it more com-fortably.Wow.Transitions between the real world and the virtual reflected on the screen…sure, that way you eliminate uncertaintyabout ‘where did my card go’ or ‘my deposit.’And I’m sure this terminal can remember the most frequent transactions for each user and quickly take them towhat they want.Well, well…this is really interesting…my plane!! When I get to the departure lounge I’ll look for a wi-fi zone to find outmore about ABIL.Others grade usMUSEUM PIECEIn July 2011, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York inaugurated the show “Talk to me: Design and thecommunication between people and objects”, where they turned to ABIL as an example of interactivity generatedbetween client and terminal in self-service banking.“Being invited to go to the MOMA exhibition is already an acknowledgement that shows us that we’re participatingin building the future,” assures Julio Pérez Piña, development leader for the ABIL project.OTHER MENTIONS In its 2010 edition, the magazine The Banker, from theBeing invited to Financial Times group awarded BBVA for the develop- ment of ABIL in the category of Innovation in Deliverygo to the MOMA Channel Technology. The commitment of the organi- zation to conceptual and technological innovation inexhibition is already self-service banking was recognized through awards that analyze how innovative solutions and strategiesan acknowledgement allow financial institutions to address their business challenges.that shows us that we’reparticipating in building In July 2011 ABIL received another recognition. This time, the ATM was awarded the silver mention inthe future the category of commercial and industrial products from the most prestigious design competition in the world, IDEA (International Design Excellence Award). Through these awards organizations like BBVA whounderstand and apply the value of design in their objective for constant betterment and making life easier for theirclients are recognized.OTHER RECOGNITIONSABIL also received a Bronze mention in the 2010 D&AD awards; took the prize in IF Communication Design 2011and has been nominated for the design award from the Federal Republic of Germany 2012.
Behind ABILJulio Pérez Piña and Andrés Retortillo are our ABIL project managers.For more information, please contact the BBVA Innovation Center:http://www.centrodeinnovacionbbva.com/