WatersTechnology Innovation Summit Q&A: Elly Hardwick, Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank head of innovation Elly Hardwick discusses what innovation means to the institution ahead of the inaugral WatesTechnology Innovation Summit.

Elly Hardwick
"Instead of merely asking how these technologies can make tasks cheaper and less error-prone, we should be encouraged to think about which new services or business models are possible." Elly Hardwick, Deutsche Bank.

Ahead of the inaugural WatersTechnology Innovation Summit in London on November 15, John Brazier speaks to some of the event's keynote speakers and panelists to find out how the topic of technology innovation is being addressed across both the buy and sell sides. Elly Hardwick, head of innovation at Deutsche Bank, will be giving the morning keynote speech.

WatersTechnology: What is the best example you can give of technology innovation at Deutsche Bank over the previous 12-18 months?

Elly Hardwick: I’ve been at Deutsche Bank less than a year, but seen great advances in the innovation function. The rate of technology adoption has increased dramatically, which is in part of a consequence of how our Innovation Labs have matured. They serve three purposes, which have caught fire: acting as an observatory to understand emerging technologies; connecting internal Deutsche Bank clients with startups; and creating off-line environments to test ideas and technologies quickly.

This year we launched our fourth Innovation Lab, in New York, and plan to establish one in Singapore. We’ve always seen a steady influx of startups visit us, but this year the interest from Deutsche Bank groups has hit the next level. Each visit creates more interest and the momentum tells me that we are making a positive contribution to the bank and our clients.

It’s difficult to pick one adoption above the rest but we’ve implemented exciting technologies like natural-language processing tools and robotics to help compliance and reconciliation processes.

What are the primary drivers of innovation within the marketplace and how do you expect that to change in the future?

The world is going through dramatic change, and technology transformation is one of the major drivers. There is a movement to digital overall and that is impacting banking across every type of business. Technology is creating opportunities and threats. It can help banks achieve unprecedented levels of agility and efficiency, enhance the client experience, and drive new business models beyond traditional banking products and services.

Our Innovation Labs support this goal by matching external innovation with business requirements. We have a strong, demand-led agenda; we focus on the application of technologies that have the biggest impact on Deutsche Bank’s bottom line.

Which emerging technology or technologies do you believe will have the greatest impact on the capital markets, for better or worse?

Artificial intelligence, in its many forms, has become one of the most hotly-discussed topics in recent times. While often the focus of the discussion is on threats, specifically to jobs, the potential to drive growth has often been neglected.

Instead of merely asking how these technologies can make tasks cheaper and less error-prone, we should be encouraged to think about which new services or business models are possible. This could give rise to job creation and revenue opportunities. Importantly, it will also make the roles within the bank more interesting.

What is the biggest lesson the capital markets need to learn to facilitate greater development and adoption of new technologies?

I think there is a lot of focus on emerging technology solutions, which is important. What is also vital for the transformation to digital is strong partnership and collaboration. Banks and startups are at their best when they bring together comparative advantages to speed up technological progress. As a bank we provide client access, industry expertise and a ready-made infrastructure. Startups bring technology insight, new angles and a flexible way of working. Combining the two is a powerful proposition for our clients. We want Deutsche Bank to be the first stop for startups.

To achieve this needs a mentality shift on both sides. So we are focused on bringing about cultural change–so every employee is open-minded about innovation and becomes a supporter of change.

The WatersTechnology Innovation Summit will provide a platform to bring together technologists, heads of innovation, business leaders and fintech entrepreneurs to discuss the latest advances in financial technology.

Through a series of interactive sessions, workshops, debates, panel discussions, case studies and roundtables this event will provide you with the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge IT strategy developments and solutions that are driving innovation and enabling smart business decision making in leading financial institutions today.

Click here for more information on the day’s event, full agenda and how to register.

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