Application of innovation strategies to create a sustainable competitive advantage at the National Bank of Kenya Limited
An organization which is serious about competing in the fast changing markets with fast changing technology must make things happen, it must innovate. Competitive advantage is the heart of a firm’s performance in a competitive market. National Bank of Kenya has undergone through eras of evolution and business development as a commercial bank operating in an extremely competitive market for the last 45 years of its existence. In the banking industry, customers preferences are ever changing and the technologies for serving customer requirements are continually evolving; thus banks must establish capabilities for continuing streams of innovations This study was guided by two objectives namely the application of innovation strategies at NBK, to create a SCA and to identify the factors that influence development of innovation strategies at NBK. The researcher collected both primary and secondary data for this study. Primary data was collected using an interview guide while secondary data was collected from the bank’s strategic plans and reports. The identified innovation strategies include installation of ICT core banking system leading automation of numerous back office processes meant to enhance convenience and save time, minimize errors and to serve customers better. The bank has also leveraged on technology to offer internet banking, Islamic banking, mobile banking as well as agency banking. From the findings, the respondents indicated that the factors influencing development of innovation strategies in the bank included customer needs, technological changes and the firm’s contextual variables which include managerial and employment structures, organizational structure and culture as well as staff skill development. In conclusion, innovation is certainly a key competitiveness factor for firms as it can help to significantly increase performance by improving products, services, processes, business models and marketing strategies. The study revealed that innovation is an essential condition of the organization progress and critical element creating a sustainable competitive advantage for the enterprise.