NCB opens Innovation Lab
Barbara Ellington, Public Affairs Editor
As it continues to be a leader on Jamaica's banking landscape, the National Commercial Bank (NCB) opened the island's first innovation lab at its 29 Trafalgar Road premises on Wednesday.
The lab, according to Group Managing Director Patrick Hylton, brings "world-class innovation in technology to the customers and revolutionises banking in Jamaica and adds value to our customers and Jamaica. It will also encourage a culture of creativity, ingenuity and organisation".
The lab, which showcased some of the businesses that are currently making use of its facilities at the launch, is designed to take entrepreneurs from ideas to real successful income- and employment-generating businesses.
It is something Julian Robinson, state minister for science, technology, energy and mining, is happy about. In his greetings, he commended NCB for providing access to funding for start-ups, particularly for persons who had no collateral, and for providing a mentoring and nurturing environment for young entrepreneurs who needed it.
Guest speaker Lisa Lake, who is the chief entrepreneurship officer for Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship - Caribbean, spoke about the need to innovate and create opportunities while solving the social problems of the country.
She said that in its three years of existence, the Branson Centre had created 214 new jobs, resulting from its encouragement of persons who were not afraid to ask why and be creative.
"We have become used to a culture where entrepreneurs are born out of necessity instead of opportunity; that needs to change," said Lake, who cited examples of internationally successful companies that were created when brave entrepreneurs took their ideas from concept to reality.
Rickert Allen, senior general manager for NCB's Group Human Resource Division, said the Innovation Lab is a physical manifestation of the bank's commitment to developing a strong work and professional culture of innovation and collaboration. Innovation is one of the NCB brand pillars. The other two are expertise and strength.
He said the lab would give NCB three opportunities, namely:
It will allow NCB to further expand the potential of its employees through giving them a physical space in which they can ideate.
It will foster collaboration or partnerships with key stakeholders, not only for the benefit of the organisation, but also for the benefit of the entire society.
It is designed to leverage the successes and improve the way the bank works and serves its customers.
"The benefits of this facility are twofold as it allows us to further enhance our customer service experience while increasing our operational efficiency - our ability to serve you better," Allen said.
He also noted that NCB's Innovation Lab will further extend its reach, partnering with key entities and institutions to develop solutions in an environment where stakeholders will have access to the latest technologies and be able to create, assess, develop and test their ideas.