How might we create the go-to retail bank of the future?

Market Foresight | Future-proof Innovation


Barclays launched an in-house innovation lab and has now invests in accelerators for startups


Barclays case study post it

The Challenge

Antony Jenkins, CEO of Barclays Global Retail Bank, had a problem. They had weathered the downturn, with share prices bouncing back, but he could see a new breed of competitor on the horizon. Google had a banking license, Facebook and Apple had micropayment systems.

Maybe Barclays wasn’t on a burning platform, yet. But it was on a flammable one and had to act quickly before somebody struck a match. His challenge to Sense Worldwide: Define the bank of the future, and create a roadmap from Me-Too bank to building a Go-To consumer brand.


The Outcomes

Barclays cleared a floor in their Canary Wharf headquarters and hired an army of innovators, technologists and designers.


The Result

Our research established a culture of innovation. This led to the formation of ‘Eagle Labs’, ‘Accelerator’, ‘rise’, ‘The female innovator’s Lab’ and ‘Black Founder Accelerator’. Barclays is continuing to find world-firsts by working with startups, rather than against them.

Our Approach

We embarked on an exploration of the opportunities for new kinds of banking. We quickly concluded that we had little to learn from the category itself. The high friction involved in changing bank accounts was a disincentive for customers to switch brands, or for banks to offer them anything new. Instead, we would need to look at the coming competition.


How Sense Worldwide Helped

What we learned from these startups was that they were single-minded in their approach. They were asking the right questions and tackling problems with a fresh perspective. We distilled this down for the Barclays team to provide a new way of thinking about the market.

  • Think like silicon valley entrepreneurs
  • Look at customers’ lives in the widest possible sense
  • Understand the critical problems Barclays can solve
  • Map current capabilities against future customers’ needs
  • Establish short, medium and long term goals
  • Roadmap technologies against emerging customer trends
  • M&A strategies to help buy capabilities


The best ExCo meeting ever… Sense Worldwide have given us exactly what we need.

Exec, Barclays


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