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Media Release

Commonwealth Bank strengthens its culture with global intrapreneur program

Crowd sourcing ideas for increased innovation

Innovation runs deep at the Commonwealth Bank with ideas flourishing in a successful internal ideas challenge program.

Ideas from within - is a model used to drive innovation at the Commonwealth Bank. The success of this year’s internal Intrapreneur program demonstrates that the cultural shift of everyone owning innovation at the bank is being lived.

In its fifth year and open to employees globally, the CommBank Intrapreneur is a company-wide innovation challenge unique in its scale, speed from idea submission to selection, and the depth of resources devoted to helping employees develop their concepts.

Jointly awarded the accolade of CommBank Intrapreneurs for 2017, two Australian teams were selected after presenting their pitches on the themes of small businesses reconnecting and setting Australians up for the future, along with four other finalist teams to an executive panel led by CEO Ian Narev.

General Manager, Innovation Labs, Tiziana Bianco said the aim of the program is to challenge, engage and connect all employees to understand customer needs, and build capability in Design Thinking, experimentation, emerging technology and mindset.

“The democratisation of innovation is how we future fit our organisation. We need every employee to be curious, to understand customer needs and develop creative confidence. The culture of innovation that Intrapreneur champions touches all areas of our business and all employees,” Tiziana said.

The CommBank Intrapreneur winners were announced at the grand final, the end of a seven-week program where participants learned about customer empathy, ideas generation and experimentation across the bank. Employees of all levels from across Australia, Asia, the US and UK got involved.

Open to 50,000 employees in 2017, Intrapreneur entrants submitted ideas aimed at improving the financial wellbeing of Commonwealth Bank clients and customers. Over 600 ideas were received in ten working days, with new thinking and solutions proposed for challenges as diverse as social impact, science literacy for kids (STEM) and superannuation. Solutions included technology spanning from AI, VR, Blockchain and robotics.

In a shift that sees innovation moving to ‘people-owned’ responsibility, the crowd sourcing of ideas within leading companies is a hot topic, and something the Commonwealth Bank has heavily invested in.

“The program generated engagement and excitement from all parts of our business. We had ideas from branches in Wagga Wagga to overseas teams in New York City. It was pleasing to see the diversity of ideas yet the consistent focus on better outcomes for our customers,” Tiziana said.

Both the winning teams of the CommBank Intrapreneur program will continue to develop and build their ideas via a ‘sprint session’ in the Innovation Lab with seed funding.