NAB Labs and the University of Melbourne have entered a “strategic collaboration” to exchange talent and ideas, and create joint research projects.
The collaboration, which also involves the Melbourne Business School, was announced by NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) event.
Thorburn said he wanted to “promote and support innovation and collaboration between the business and the university sector” through the alliance.
There are a number of potential elements to the alliance.
NAB said it would host what it called “innovation practicums” at its NAB Labs facility for Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Business Analytics students.
“Students will join a NAB Labs experiment team for six weeks and can receive course credits,” NAB said.
“The alliance will foster talent development and job opportunities.”
NAB also said it would work on applied research projects between NAB Labs, the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Business School.
The research projects are expected to focus on “business challenges and solutions, while sharing academic and business insights on topics, such as blockchain, customer behaviour and data analytics.”
“NAB Labs will actively participate in the innovation precincts around the University of Melbourne to help leading-edge researchers and students translate research insights from the lab to the marketplace,” the bank said.
For NAB, its executives are expected to benefit from the alliance, as is the bank’s data science capability.
“The University of Melbourne and Melbourne Business School will deliver custom education programs to NAB executives to cultivate high-performing teams, leadership and innovation,” NAB said.
“In addition to this, The Centre for Business Analytics at Melbourne Business School will work with NAB employees to develop skills in analytics.”
The strategic alliance is one of three NAB Labs-related announcements made by Thorburn at the CEDA event.
The other two announcements related to “first release pilots” of two new tools overseen by NAB Labs.
The first tool - NAB Business in One - was developed in conjunction with Australian start-up Maestrano, and sees NAB offering cloud-based dashboards for its small business customers.
“[NAB Business in One] synchronises data in real-time across numerous applications – including accounting, sales customer relationship management software – into a central, customisable dashboard,” Thorburn said.
“[It] will give small business owners the data and information they need to help them run their small business in one place.”
The other tool to enter pilot is NAB Dash, a kind of mobile wallet service. It will be trialled at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast, allowing Suns supporters “to order refreshments from their seats and pay in advance”.
“The application uses location-based technology to alert staff at food stands and bars when a NAB Dash user approaches the counter to collect their order, easing congestion,” Thorburn said.
“Footy fans don’t want to go to the game and spend their time lining up for food and drinks, which is why we’re giving them a way to skip the queue.”