Oliver Stevenson

In April the Future Leaders were set the challenge of coming up with the best way of both launching and driving downloads for the Barclays Homeowner App; the latest of our ever-increasing array of digital assets.

We were given one month to formulate a plan before submitting our entries to a 'Dragons Den 'of senior leaders from across the business.  

Instead of a £50,000 investment in return for a 20% share of our company, we were competing for the chance to pitch our ideas to the CEO of the Global Retail Bank, Ashok Vaswani, and for the potential of having our proposals used as the backbone of the full-scale launch later this year.

After being given the brief, I formed a small team of Future Leaders from across the different streams, and over the next month we managed to carve out enough time in our diaries to bounce around some ideas, test them with both front-line and head-office colleagues, and settle on the one which we felt had the most potential.

Without giving too much away before the launch, we decided that the best way of encouraging downloads would be by injecting an element of gamification into it, so that downloading the App became a fun, social activity rather than a purely practical one.

The final round of the competition involved the Mortgages Team taking Ashok through the entire lifecycle of the App, right from the insights that led to its creation all the way through to the exciting features of future releases. After that, my teammate Colette and I nervously took to the floor to deliver our meticulously-rehearsed pitch… and Ashok absolutely loved it!

Since then the two of us have met with Zoopla, who provide all the data for the App, and also with various colleagues from both the Mortgages and Marketing Departments, to help them turn our concept into a fully-fledged campaign.

On a personal level, the thing I enjoyed most about the Homeowner App Challenge (apart from winning!) is that it allowed me to practise my presentation skills in front of some really senior people who were genuinely engaged and interested in what we had to say.

However, taking a step back I would say that the most important thing is that it shows that the FLDP has managed to build a reputation for coming up with fresh and innovative solutions to real business problems, which is why the Mortgages Team chose to approach us in the first place. That’s exactly the brand which we as a cohort are committed to portraying, and I’m really looking forward to maintaining and strengthening that reputation over the course of my next two rotations.