At KIN Center for Digital Innovation, we find it essential to share our knowledge and insights and to look beyond the hype. One key way is through the KIN Business Network. One of our members is ING Labs Amsterdam, and I interviewed Olivier Guillaumond, Global Head of ING Labs and Fintech, and Hanne Österberg, Exploration Lead ING Labs Amsterdam to learn about ING Labs and why they joined the Business Network.
“For us, innovation is not a gadget. It is really something that is crucial to our strategy as ING and something that we think is differentiating for our customers.”Olivier Guillaumond
Introducing ING Labs
ING Labs sits within the chief innovation office of ING. They have Labs in 4 different cities around the world: Amsterdam, Brussel, London, and Singapore. As Olivier describes it, “the lab spurs a great idea into disruptive products and services that customers need.” The Labs focus on Horizon 2 & 3 types of innovations. Every city focuses on matching ING’s ‘right to play’ within the local ecosystem, lending in London, and trading in Singapore. Besides this, they have two accelerator Labs. They match with start-ups and scale-ups to help them develop their value proposition by offering them specific access to the ING expertise and network. ING Labs aim to create all the services that are necessary to grow a minimal viable company. The Labs work with multidisciplinary teams where they combine internal and external talent. The talent varies from researchers to website builders to coaches, marketers, developers, and so forth. On top of that, they rely on specific expertise on the side of ING’s talents working within the core business.
Organizing for innovation
Having global innovation Labs sounds great, but those working in corporate innovation know that organizing for innovation can be challenging. The Labs are part of ING’s overall strategy; this is a critical starting point. Olivier also mentions a few other key points for aligning within ING:
“First of all, we have a clear handshake on the domains we want to focus on. Second, we have governance in place to make sure we have bridges to make sure we are always fully aligned on where we want to go, in terms of research allocation, priority, and decisions to invest”.
These points are indeed crucial for alignment, but Olivier also mentions that it’s still not easy keeping direction in the complexity of the environment. As he says, this is where the strong leadership of senior management of ING plays an important role.
What does a global head of innovation do in a day?
Olivier’s main tasks are to help his team, the different Lab leads, and make sure all the portfolio initiatives are up for success. He also makes sure they keep on improving the services we deliver as a Lab. Another concern is high-quality recruitment because it always starts with having a dream team; that is something they continuously work on. Operational speaking, he also makes sure that the Labs keep improving, part of which is making sure ING Labs has a steady inflow of interesting high potential high disruptive ideas coming in. That’s why the partnership with KIN Center for Digital Innovation is exciting, to make sure they are up to speed with the latest research, behavior, and trends in the market; it is a starting point for ideation, to make sure ING has a steady flow of interesting ideas.
“From a small topic of interest to a larger overlap. and hopefully, a longer collaboration.”Hanne Österberg
Joining the KIN Business Network:
Exploration is an important role in ING Lab. They are continually looking for what are the topics and who are the thought leaders on those topics. Within this research, they came across some of the research KIN researchers have made. This was where the initial contact with KIN started. And in this first contact, there were a lot of topics that overlapped with the interest of ING like, digital transformation, new way of working, crowdsourcing. When hearing more about how KIN was developing a Business Network they found this very interesting and decided to join.
Since the start of this year, we already have done some interesting collaborations with ING where we exchanged knowledge and practical implications on several digital innovation topics. For ING Labs the added value of this has been to deep dive into topics with KIN researchers, for example on the use of AI or privacy issues using a digital identity. But also to have access to masterclasses and the opportunity to host in-house sessions. This has already made the collaboration really valuable.