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Westpac boosts its innovation capabilities


10 September 2014

Westpac Group today opened the doors to ‘the hive’ in Kogarah - a world-class innovation centre that will help the bank respond to and anticipate changing market and customer needs.

Westpac Group CEO, Gail Kelly, said the 800m2 centre was a highly collaborative space that would enable Westpac staff and partners to experiment in ways like never before. 

“Today’s opening of ‘the hive’ is another step in Westpac’s almost 200-year innovation journey. We have a strong record as one of Australia’s most innovative companies, driven by the needs of our customers. That’s what drove us to be the first Australian bank to introduce ATMs and the first Australian bank to offer online banking,” Mrs Kelly said.

“By investing in ‘the hive’ we will be able to quickly test and develop ideas for new products and services that will set us apart from our competitors.”

Westpac staff and selected industry partners will use ‘the hive’ to access the latest innovation research and expertise, experiment, and where necessary, fail fast by taking small steps that help them to quickly validate, shape and progress ideas towards clear customer and business outcomes.

A small team of resident experts will be based in ‘the hive’ to provide advice and expertise on idea creation and prototyping.  It will also be home to world-class experimentation tools including:

  • Cloud-based development capabilities;
  • A data sand-box  to test ideas using sample data;
  • A wireless enabled demilitarised zone environment that will provide staff and partners with the technology access and tools they need, but that is isolated from the Westpac corporate network; and
  • Prototyping tools such as 3D printers.

Westpac Group Chief Operating Officer, John Arthur, said innovation was about doing things differently and trying new things to constantly improve services and respond to customers’ changing needs.

“Today our customers live in a 24/7 digital world, with everything at their fingertips. They expect us to keep up with their changing needs and are always looking for new and innovative banking services. A fast and more agile mindset will help us respond to and anticipate changing market and customer needs,” Mr Arthur said.

“This is more than just technology and gadgets - it’s about changing the way we work and supporting leading edge, future-ready ideas that will help us better meet our customers’ needs.”

‘The hive’ is an integral plank of Westpac Group’s innovation business strategy, which also includes:

  • Supporting the innovators and leaders of tomorrow through the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation;
  • Investing in Reinventure - a venture capital group that supports new technology start-ups;
  • Investing in ‘The Garage’ - a specialist team working to fast track innovative new customer products; and
  • Rolling out a new agile way of working across Westpac Group offices.