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At the CIBBVA, BBVA Innovation Center in Madrid

Francisco González: “Innovation is the cornerstone of economic growth”


  • BBVA's Chairman and CEO launches book entitled Innovation: Perspectives for the 21st Century and the Open Mind website, which has been developed to spread knowledge widely and democratically
  • During the launch, Francisco González was joined by Joichi Ito, Director of MIT Media Lab
  • The event served to inaugurate the BBVA Innovation Center in Madrid and was attended by Esperanza Aguirre, President of the Madrid Regional Government, Cristina Garmendia, Science and Innovation Minister, and Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, Mayor of Madrid

The BBVA Innovation Center was the venue this Thursday for the launch of the book Innovation: Perspectives for the 21st Century. The work is the result of BBVA's commitment to knowledge “and the key issues shaping the world in which we live”. For BBVA's Chairman and CEO, Francisco González, “innovation is the key factor capable of driving economic growth and improving human standards of living in the medium to long term”. BBVA's Chairman and CEO also said that “we aim to lead the transformation of the banking sector towards a totally different concept; for this reason we have been working for years to build a new business model that is in line with these changes”.

This initiative is in keeping with the bank's vision: Working towards a better future for people. It analyzes the roots of innovation and their cultural implications, institutional issues surrounding innovation, how innovation is generated, and how organizations can change to promote innovation. The work also looks at the impact of innovation in the various areas of human activity in order to fuel the debate about this critical phenomenon for today's society and the economy.
Francisco González, author of one of the articles in the book: Innovation for the 21st Century Banking Industry, chaired the event and highlighted during his speech that BBVA is working toward “a model that is highly leveraged in simple and efficient technology that enables our customers to interact with us wherever, however and whenever they wish, and allows us to find the best solutions to their needs”.

Joichi Ito, Director of MIT Media Lab (http://www.media.mit.edu/) and Chairman of Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/), joined BBVA's Chairman and CEO along with the President of the Madrid Regional Government, Esperanza Aguirre, the Science and Innovation Minister, Cristina Garmendia, and Mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón.

Innovation: Perspectives for the 21st Century, published by BBVA, presents innovation as a powerful tool for stimulating economic growth and improving the quality of life of future generations around the world during a time when science and technology are advancing at mind-boggling speed, which are critical to tacking the educational, health care and environmental challenges we face. The book brings together the thoughts of 28 authors; experts in innovation working in the most renowned companies and academic institutions of the 21st Century such as Curtis R. Carlson, Frank Moss, Alex Pentland, Nathan Rosenberg, Edward S. Rubin, Eric von Hippel, David Mowery, Joaquim Vilá and Xavier Vives, among others.

Francisco González believes “this book provides an overview of the key aspects of innovation, written by 27 world-leading researchers and thinkers. Furthermore, said the BBVA Chairman and CEO, today we are celebrating the launch of the OpenMind community: a meeting place open to all, where specialists and non-specialists alike can discuss ideas and opinions relating to the vital issues of today”.

The book presented this morning also forms part of BBVA Open Mind (www.bbvaopenmind.com/), a website developed to disseminate knowledge as widely, openly and democratically as possible in order to create a community with a common goal: to share knowledge for a better future. The platform will also provide access to the series of books published by BBVA over the last three years: Frontiers of Knowledge, The Multiple Faces of Globalization and Innovation: Perspectives for the 21st Century, and will be populated with future publications and material provided by the authors.

The website provides access to the complete books or, if users prefer, each article, which can be read online or downloaded in various formats. Users can post comments on the articles, review them, read and evaluate the comments of other users, and send questions directly to the authors who each have an individual web page presenting all their activity on the site.

Inauguration of CIBBVA

The event also served to officially inaugurate BBVA's Innovation Center (CIBBVA). This building, located in the Plaza de Santa Bárbara in Madrid, serves as a space for innovation in BBVA, from which ideas emanate and are proven. It also acts as a meeting point, open to others interested in innovation; a space that encourages sharing, listening and learning.  

The CIBBVA has been designed to be more than just a physical space. It forms a fundamental part of BBVA's strategy, where innovation – synonymous with growth for the customer and the bank itself – is one of the main pillars of business strategy. In order to continue growing, BBVA has adopted an OPEN INNOVATION model, which stems from an initial attempt to form part of the field of innovation and tap into what is happening around the world through an extensive network of contacts and agreements with institutions and agents in the global innovation ecosystem. BBVA has formed partners in this sphere with Cisco, Xerox, Nokia, Intel and HP, etc.

MIT Media Lab, which is also a partner, is committed to designing and inventing new solutions for people and their communities. Lab designers, engineers, artists, and scientists work atelier-style at the MIT Media Lab, conducting more than 400 projects that range from neuroengineering, to how children learn, to developing cars for the future.

Through this work in recent years, the Lab has devised its own working methodology based on people and collective talent, which ensures each idea is developed through collaboration and co-creation. A number of the projects showcased during the opening of the CIBBVA are the result of this process of innovation in BBVA such as EasyBank, which transforms customers into the center of a bank branch's activity, or mobile phone banking systems enabling a pharmacy or food store to become the sole physical banking agent for customers with physical disabilities.

The goal is for the building in the Plaza de Santa Bárbara to also become a physical and virtual contact point for anyone and any organization interested in innovation. As well as the activities performed in the CIBBVA building, a full website will be developed, extending its presence across all forms of social media.


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