National Bank Australia (NAB) has announced the formation of strategic partnerships between its innovation hub NAB Labs and the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Business School, with the partnerships to facilitate the exchange and collaboration of ideas and talent between the business and university sectors.
The bank will host “innovation practicums” for students, allowing them to join an experiment team at NAB Labs for six weeks and receive course credits. NAB Labs will also work on applied research projects with the two organisations, with these to focus on business challenges and solutions.
The bank said NAB Labs will also be active around the University of Melbourne’s innovation precincts in order to help researchers and students “translate research insights from the lab to the marketplace.”
Meanwhile, the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Business School will deliver custom education programs to NAB executives, with the Melbourne Business School’s Centre for Business Analytics to help NAB employees develop skills in analytics.
The bank partnered with Sydney coworking community Fishburners last October in a deal that saw NAB get its own desk in the space, giving it the opportunity to work with and observe the startups at close range.
The announcement of the partnerships came in hand with the launch of two new customer-led products developed at NAB Labs.
The first, NAB Business in One, a cloud-based platform for small business customers, was developed in conjunction with startup Maestrano. The platform brings together real-time data from various business services, including accounting and CRM platforms, into a centralised dashboard.
The second is NAB Dash, which uses location-based tracking to allow users to order and pay for food and drinks in advance and then be alerted when its ready, has been picked up by the Gold Coast Suns for use at food outlets in its stadium.
Andrew Thorburn, CEO of NAB, said the launch of the new products shows NAB Labs is helping to drive “real and sustainable change” through the business.
“We are working hard to ensure that changes happen faster across the bank in a more agile way. We have to innovate with focus, creating change that will best serve our customers,” he said.
“NAB Labs works with existing technology partners and with new startups, to drive change at pace and try new things. We are disrupting our business from within, tapping into ideas and talent from both inside and outside the organisation, for the benefit of our customers.”
The news from NAB is the latest in a series of announcements from Australian banks looking to prove their innovative chops.
CommBank recently launched a new Innovation Lab in Hong Kong and announced plans to open another in London later this year, while Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, group executive of Institutional Banking and Markets at Commonwealth Bank, was named as part of the Federal Government’s fintech advisory group last month.
Image: Andrew Thorburn. Source: Gabrielle Dolan.