A Hands-on Project on Innovation in Communication

Written on November 28, 2011 by alumni2010mcc in News

Why would the Director of Global Accounting at BBVA concern himself with supporting innovation in communications?

I had the opportunity to ask that very question to the director, Ricardo Gómez, this summer.

I interviewed Ricardo while working on a project to investigate innovation in BBVA’s Communication Department alongside the Master in Corporate Communication’s Academic Director, Laura Illia. In the final months of the program, I was invited to collaborate with Professor Illia and Ignacio Villoch, Communication & Branding: Strategy & Innovation Officer at BBVA on a case study and scholarly article for an academic journal. The article would detail how BBVA created a “Laboratory” within its communications department to monitor for innovations in the communications world together with hundreds of partners. Members from across the department come together to focus on one of five different focus areas, all of which have the potential to impact the financial bottom line of the core business, while allowing the communication department to more effectively communicate with stakeholders and to measure the effectiveness of their communications. The Laboratory Team is responsible for piloting promising ideas and, if deemed viable, overseeing their launch.

We interviewed nine members of the senior management and the communications department at BBVA, using interview guidelines based on the Critical Incident Technique. We recorded all the interviews and analyzed them using narrative analysis, a technique suitable for identifying the main actors, their actions, plot and timeline, which provided us with the story about BBVA and its Laboratory. This supported our main aim to identify the types of processes, actions and actors crucial for fostering innovation in corporate communication. After analyzing the interviews, I started piecing together the case study, while Professor Illia focused on the theoretical aspects of the article, and Ignacio helped to fill in all the details. The final paper was accepted for presentation at the annual Sinergie Conference, alongside some star professors in the communications field.

So why would the Director of Global Accounting support the Laboratory?

In his own words: “As long as technology keeps evolving, the Laboratory is the place where processes that can transform BBVA are identified—processes that bring a real advantage to the bank through successful applications of new technologies.”

–Silvia McCallister Castillo


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