Innovative banking: WeLab Boost's success story at Qorus Reinvention Awards

Digital Reinvention
14/12/2023 Interview
profile picture of Ahmed El Rheddane

Ahmed El Rheddane

Attijariwafa Bank

Innovation Lab Manager

At the Qorus Reinvention Awards – MEA (2023), Attijariwafa bank received the Operational Efficiency Bronze Award for WeLab Boost. The WeLab Boost scheme involves employees voluntarily working together to explore how new technologies can address requirements identified by the bank. More than a hundred employees have participated in the scheme so far. Ahmed El Rheddane, Innovation Lab Manager at Attijariwafa bank, provides further insights into the project, the award, and the future of banking.

Can you introduce yourself and tell us more about your role at this winning project?

I am Ahmed El Rheddane, manager of Attijariwafa Bank’s Innovation Lab. I have started the WeLab Boost program as a means of involving our collaborators in helping our bank stay ahead by experimenting in new technologies.

What made you most proud of this project? What was your greatest achievement in making it happen?

I am most proud of all the voluntary participants, some of whom had no technical background, yet were able to quickly grasp the basics of new technology and leverage it to address a banking use case by implementing a proof of concept. Our collaborators’ curiosity and sense of initiative are our greatest asset.

Which technologies and innovations do you expect to impact the banking industry powerfully in the next five years?

AI and the recent surge of generative AI will continue to accelerate automation across all financial services and beyond. They will also help us provide tailormade offers to our customers to better address their needs. The continuous adoption of the cloud will help banks focus more on their core business, accelerate their development, and deeply impact their IT departments’ role altogether. Finally, while blockchain has lost a bit of momentum recently, it can trigger a big paradigm shift in the future, should it gain more traction. 

Some banks tend to take big techs as their model and main competitors. What is your vision? And how do you see the future of banks?

I think banks and big techs operate on different levels: while big techs are practically unbeatable on technology, banks have earned their customers’ trust over the years and are better suited to understand and address their needs. I think we should leverage the best of both worlds and build partnerships where both can bring their distinctive expertise to better serve their common customers, as has Amazon done with JP Morgan Chase for their reward cards, for instance. 

What would you say to companies that might consider entering the 2024 Banking Innovation Awards?

I would encourage them to innovate on behalf of their customers, to be brave and to empower their human capital to fully achieve their potential, which would invariably lead to great achievements.

What does this award mean to you and your innovation team?

We were extremely humbled by this award, that is not only a recognition of our team’s efforts but also to all the participants across our bank that gave a bit of their own time to help make the WeLab Boost program a success.

Qorus members can access a complete feature including a detailed presentation of all the winners here

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