With this year’s intake of its elevate61 accelerator program well underway, KPMG is doubling down on its focus on Australian tech and startups, today announcing that it will be bringing its Innovation Lab to Sydney in September and opening Insight Centres in Sydney and Melbourne.
To be located in the firm’s new office in Barangaroo, the Sydney Innovation Lab will be KPMG’s third worldwide, with others open in New York and Amsterdam.
Led by Kristina Craig, previously a director in KPMG’s management consulting practice and cofounder of the MindArc Digital Agency, the Lab will focus on helping clients anticipate and plan for disruption, facilitating collaboration around customer behaviour, tech-driven innovation, and strategy.
It will look to introduce clients to new techniques and technologies such as 3D printers, wearables, VR and AR, drones and robotics, and facilitate introductions to startups. KPMG stated that each Lab is geared to meeting the challenges of each local ecosystem through the analysis of over 500,000 online sources daily.
“The Innovation Lab will be a world-leading creative resource for our Australian clients. We’ve identified the most successful features of different innovation labs and centres across the KPMG global network to develop a unique capability,” Craig said.
Craig said that though the Lab will be housed in Sydney, it will be a national, firm-wide facility, with pop-up labs and other digital platforms to push the experience out across Australia.
The KPMG Insight Centres, meanwhile, will be modelled on similar spaces the firm has opened in Frankfurt and Hong Kong, where interactive video walls allow clients to easily visualise data from which they can draw actionable insights.
With the Sydney centre to open in September and the Melbourne space to open early next year, Ken Reid, KPMG Australia national managing partner, Brand & Innovation, said the firm hopes the Lab and Insights Centres will become important facilitators for collaboration and cooperation across all players in Australia’s innovation landscape.
Reid said, “Businesses are operating in an increasingly globalised, digitised and data-dependent world. The fact is that Australian organisations are often struggling to understand the signals of change and the impact of emerging technologies on their business. These physical spaces have proven hugely successful internationally in helping clients understand the market opportunities and challenges, and adapt to the new reality.”
Though taking slightly different approaches, the innovation lab concept has grown in popularity with Australian corporates as of late, with KPMG just the latest to act.
The banking sector, for example, has seen NAB open NAB Labs, the Commonwealth Bank running its Innovation Lab, ANZ creating Innovyz, and Westpac opening its Hive innovation centre in late 2014.
Image: a KPMG Innovation Lab. Source: CIO.