KPMG centres on innovation with new lab


By Daniel Paperny

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KPMG Australia has announced it will be launching a multi-million-dollar innovation lab at its new headquarters in Sydney’s Barangaroo later this year aimed at anticipating and planning for disruption for its Australian clients.

The news follows similar moves by Australia’s big four over the past few years to ensure the banks were keeping pace with innovation – the most recent of which involved ANZ Group penning a five-year $450 million agreement with IBM in September last year, with both parties jointly establishing an innovation lab.

The announcement also comes on the back of international success from similar lab initiatives implemented by KPMG in New York and Amsterdam.

KPMG Australia Innovation Lab head Kristina Craig said the lab would work with clients to develop ideas that pre-empted disruption in the finance sector.

“The innovation lab is a new environment and service offering for KPMG, focusing on researching and building out points of view on the future, prototyping new ideas and tapping into the fact that people learn the most through experience,” Craig said.

By establishing a series of experiential environments, the company said the new centre would focus on fostering collaboration with clients on topics such as customer behaviour, technology-driven innovation and innovation strategy.

In addition to the new lab in Sydney, the consultancy firm said it would also unveil a series of pop-up innovation labs across the country, as well as two client “insight centres” in Sydney and Melbourne, which would be progressively launched over the next six months.

Despite being a foundation partner of Stone and Chalk, Craig said the innovation lab would not conflict with KPMG’s existing involvement in the Sydney fintech hub.

On the contrary, KPMG would look to build on its lab initiative by organising hackathons, maker events and greater collaboration with start-up communities in the future, she said.

KPMG Australia brand and innovation national managing partner Ken Reid said the company’s significant investment in the initiative underscored the firm’s commitment to harnessing the latest technologies and insights from KPMG’s global network.

“Australian organisations are often struggling to understand the signals of change and the impact of emerging technologies on their business. These physical spaces have proven hugely successful internationally in helping clients understand the market opportunities and challenges, and adapt to the new reality,” Reid said.

“Beyond a resource for our clients, we hope that the innovation lab and insights centres will become important facilitators for collaboration and cooperation for all the players in Australia’s innovation ecosystem, including corporations, government, start-ups and academia.”

KPMG said the lab in Sydney would be officially unveiled in September.

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