6 April 2017

Innovation Essentials: In Conversation with Nigel Dobson

Watch this series examining top tips from leading innovators in the financial industry on how to make innovation a success. This week: Interview with Nigel Dobson, ANZ.

Nigel Dobson, ANZ Bank“I cannot remember a time in my thirty years of banking where I have seen such coherent, prolonged discussions, leading to real concepts being tested and deployed across a range of institutions,” says Nigel Dobson, General Manager of Transformation Projects at ANZ.  “And I think the Australian financial landscape is perhaps unique in this due to its size and shape, and the fact that there are a small number of banks who happen to have broadly aligned interests, even though they compete against one another. The industry has recently been involved in setting up an Australian real-time payments infrastructure, which has helped bring the banks together to collaborate and solve problems for mutual benefit.”

ANZ has the ambition to become one of the world's leading digital banks and embedded in that ambition is a very powerful innovative culture, be that self-generated or developed through partnerships. Innovation requires significant change and transformation in terms of how the bank’s technology and people can meet client expectations. To aid in this change, ANZ has appointed an Innovation Committee that prioritises innovation opportunities and also engages a partner out of Silicon Valley to help manage the demand and supply of innovative thinking to and from the bank.

I think that working in partnerships where there is clear mutual benefit for both parties is very helpful. It drives good outcomes.

Nigel Dobson, General Manager of Transformation Projects, ANZ

“I think that working in partnerships where there is clear mutual benefit for both parties is very helpful. It drives good outcomes,” comments Dobson. “ANZ, for example, has been very focussed on working with distributed ledger technology (DLT) around internal processing problems within the banking industry as a whole. DLT is a good example of using strong mutual benefits from like-minded partners and also entering communities that are very focussed on delivering outcomes that can be scaled. Certainly from a bank's point of view there are significant benefits if it is solved.”

DLT is a good example of using strong mutual benefits from like-minded partners and also entering communities that are very focussed on delivering outcomes that can be scaled. Certainly from a bank's point of view there are significant benefits if it is solved.

Nigel Dobson, General Manager of Transformation Projects, ANZ

ANZ believes in a pragmatic approach that focusses attention on investment and deriving outcomes relatively quickly. This helps confine the endless experimentation phase in favour of a robust outcome-orientated achievement. Dobson concludes, “I think the message goes back to this concept of ANZ wanting to solve real-world problems for our customers. We do not, for instance, want to just say we are doing stuff in blockchain. What we actually want to say is that we now have a piece of technology that solves this problem, and we are taking it to our clients.”

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The essentials for successful innovation teams in the financial industry - Report

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