Innovation labs are traditionally associated with tech companies but there are now being embraced by companies across all industries, which are choosing hubs such as San Francisco, Singapore and Hong Kong to base themselves in a bid to pick up some of the startup spirit.
By bring together participants from varied backgrounds, with varied expertise and experience, innovation labs are helping firms prepare themselves to the next wave of digitalization by fueling collaborative innovation.
In recent years, Hong Kong has witnessed the launch of numerous fintech innovation labs. The following ten labs are some of the most notable ones based in Hong Kong:
Hong Kong eXellerator
The Hong Kong eXellerator is the innovation lab of Standard Chartered. Focused on “Rewiring the DNA in Banking,” the Hong Kong eXellerator leverages human-centric design, a lean startup approach and fintech enablement, while nurturing an intrapreneurial culture by empowering people to take initiative. It aims to promote innovation within the bank and taps emerging financial technologies and data science to bring better products and services to customers in Hong Kong. With an area of over 10,000 square feet, the lab is a space for business units, clients, tech firms and partners to solve problems and explore opportunities. It features an open common area, project and training rooms, and a usability testing lab.
Deloitte Asia Pacific Blockchain Lab
The Asia Pacific Blockchain Lab, coordinated out of Hong Kong, works with Deloitte’s specialists across the region to bring the firm’s unique expertise to Asia Pacific. In cooperation with a global team of more than 800 blockchain professionals across 20 countries, the lab works with international organizations looking to implement and deploy Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) solutions. Offerings range from identifying use cases and building proofs of concept to creating market ready solutions, supporting businesses with the development of their digital innovation programs. The lab has worked closely with regulator, major banks and corporations in various areas including cross-border transactions, trade finance, insurance, and more.
PwC’s Emerging Technology Lab
PwC’s Emerging Technology Lab works with clients to develop innovative, technology-based solutions to real-world business problems. The lab focuses not only on the novel and interesting uses for leading-edge technologies, but also maintaining practical focus on how organizations can understand, plan, and adopt new solutions.
HSBC – ASTRI Research and Development Innovation Laboratory
The HSBC – ASTRI Research and Development Innovation Laboratory is a fintech R&D lab launched in 2016 by HSBC and the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI). The lab aims to encourage research and technology implementation within the financial industry. It mobilizes fintech developments through exploratory activities in areas including artificial intelligence on Chinese character recognition, behavioral biometric authentication, big data analytics, blockchain, cybersecurity, facial recognition and electronic finance.
HSBC Innovation Lab
HSBC opened its Hong Kong innovation lab in 2015 as part of a global initiative to develop next generation digital and mobile banking services. The lab is staffed with a team of business and technology experts and focuses on developing fintech solutions for corporate banking, trade and supply chains, retail banking, and more. It works with partners including clients, technology firms, academia and government officials, to share expertise and showcase trends and new technologies. New ideas and concepts are prototyped and trialed through full-scale business simulations to generate practical insights, then fine-tuned before being fully launched to market.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia Hong Kong Innovation Lab
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia set up its Hong Kong Innovation Lab in 2016 as part of the bank’s global innovation network expansion. The lab has three main zones: the incubation garage space, which helps cross-functional project teams work together, the collaboration hub, which encourages co-creation with clients to identify bespoke solutions, specific challenges and test prototypes; and the usability room, which provides clients with a live testing facility and the latest technology to improve their digital platforms.
AMTD Fintech Centre
The AMTD Fintech Centre of PolyU Faculty of Business (the Fintech Centre) was launched earlier this year by the Hong Kong-based financial institution group in partnership with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) to help enhance Hong Kong’s capabilities to be an international and leading FinTech hub in the world. The Fintech Centre conducts fintech related research, consultancy and training projects for the financial industry, provides support to startups, facilitates exchanges among local, Chinese mainland and overseas experts, and offers fintech education for students, financial personnel and the public.
MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node
As the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s first innovation node in the world, MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node seeks to build long-term value for Hong Kong’s innovation endeavors. The center provides students, faculties and entrepreneurs with an engaging physical space for collaboration, connection, and hands-on making. The 5,000 sq.ft. space combines classrooms, a co-working space and a maker space, and features state-of-the-art advanced prototyping equipment, as well as media centers for teaching and producing mass communications content.
Microsoft Experience Center
The Microsoft Experience Center focuses on accelerating digital transformation by creating more personal computing, reinventing productivity and building the intelligent cloud platform. The lab is designed to enhance innovation and productivity, and provides function-based workplaces to meet diversified needs. It aims to nurture collaboration with customers and partners, including local startups, through a great showcase of joint innovations.
PolyU – Microsoft Smart Computing Laboratory
Launched in 2015 by Microsoft and PolyU, the PolyU – Microsoft Smart Computing Laboratory at the Department of Computing (COMP) provides a platform to enhance teaching and learning, while inspiring innovative research and fostering university-industry collaborations on areas such as big data computing, human-centered computing, computational intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT). The lab also welcomes collaborations with other departments, institutions and companies to further realize smart computing technologies and applications.
Featured image credit: Microsoft Experience Center