BBVA AI Factory, among the best workplaces for innovators

The prestigious American publication awarded two prizes after evaluating the initiatives presented by more than 1,500 companies from a wide variety of industries, including information technology, biotechnology, education, financial services or cybersecurity, among others. In the case of the BBVA artificial intelligence factory, the X Program, an innovative formula to solve the technical challenges of data and AI on a global scale.

The X program was created in 2021 in response to a need detected by BBVA AI plant: from exploring disruptive ideas go beyond their usual tasks and develop ssolutions to common challenges to multi-team projects. Thus, the X program is designed as an incubator for small innovation projects that promotes exploration mindset new ideas from corporate data scientists, but very focused on solving data problems and challenges for the bank. “Their goal is to create rapid, usable prototypes of new data-driven products that meet the common needs of multiple enterprise programs, not just one,” he explains. Jesus Renero, head of the Advanced Analytics discipline at BBVA AI Factory and promoter of the program. “Every project in Program X stems from ideas, needs or challenges that team members share each week.”

“We choose an idea that faces a structural challenge and we create an ‘ad hoc’ team to develop a demonstrator, a working prototype for this idea, in just three months”, he explains. Jose A. Rodriguez Serranocoordinator of Program X. “Once a basic but functional prototype has been obtained, it is implemented in the project for which it was born, it is refined with the comments of the business team and made available to the bank worldwide to be able to apply it in other products”.

Facilitating AI Machine Learning

The first project of the X program was the development of a tool called Annotate, which accelerates big data labeling for machine learning AI models. The team achieved this by using a statistical technique called ‘active learning’, which makes it possible to pre-select the data that will be most relevant for the final operation of the AI ​​model, which considerably reduces the volume of information with which it must feed its learning. This capacity is essential to accelerate the next evolutions of the motion categorizer current accounts in the BBVA ‘app’, which helps customers to have a more precise view of the distribution of their monthly income and expenses.

“With Program X, we have succeeded in meeting an industry challenge: the labeling of large volumes of data.”

“For an AI model to learn to distinguish between a payroll entry or an insurance payment, a human team must first assign certain labels to each movement,” he explains. Francois Maturana, CEO of BBVA AI Factory. “In the previous version of the motion categorizer, our data scientists had to prepare a set of two million marked moves. In the new taxonomy that will be implemented in future updates, thanks to Annotify, it was only necessary tag just over 40,000 to obtain the same precision by the original analytical model. This is a sectoral challenge that we have managed to improve thanks to the methodology of Program X”.

Annotify is available for use by any BBVA team around the world, and the X program is already working on another project focused on improving the interaction between customers and the bank in the various communication channels.

Autonomy and female talent

Other factors of BBVA AI Factory’s corporate culture that Fast Company has assessed for recognition are the promotion of knowledge sharingfrom personal and professional growththe coaching and the autoliderazgo. “By self-leadership, we mean the ability to reach a level of maturity that allows all the people who make up the company, whatever their position, to make autonomous decisions in their field of action, without the need to be supervised by a hierarchy. higher,” he explains. At Marina Arruabar’s, head of talent and culture at BBVA AI Factory. “Always with the support of the rest of the teams, who help them in times of uncertainty.”

In addition, they can share the progress and difficulties of their projects in a bi-monthly Debating Club and attend master classes from data science experts. On the other hand, the center also develops actions for promote a culture of equality. One of them consists in contacting, via professional social networks, female profiles meeting the requirements of open selection processes, to encourage their participation. “We managed to balance the number of resumes from men and women in these processes,” says Arruabarrena.

Suma BBVA AI Factory Fast Company recognition that Global Finance awarded in 2021 as one of the best financial innovation laboratories at the World level.

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