Design your career
Chloe Skafte loved her grad program experience so much that she jumped at the chance to get the job.
by Chloe Walker
Far from a traditional office format, work processes at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) operate a little differently – some may consider it more creative than financial. Hot-desking in the open space is standard. Teams can also apply to work in a hub where they can create innovative products that connect with national audiences.
So when Chloe Skafte moved from a Bachelor of Information Technology at University of Technology, Sydney into CBA’s graduate program she was in for a surprise. Most grads do rotations in two departments, but Chloe was so inspired by what was going on in Emerging Technology that she decided to stick around.
The department actively experiments with new technologies that might enhance, disrupt or otherwise intersect with the banking industry. Things like artificial intelligence, blockchain, the Internet of Things and even mixed reality are all used as part of their work.
Chloe (pictured below with Hugh Ong, one of the managers within Emerging Technology) loved the experimental focus of the department.
“You have so much freedom in this role. If you have an idea and can validate it with the bank, the team will give it a go,” she says.
“I didn’t expect to have so much freedom as a graduate. To be able to be creative was a big win for me.”
Emerging technology in mixed reality
One of the most exciting technologies Chloe has had a chance to play with is the Microsoft HoloLens (pictured above), which lets users interact with holograms in what is termed ‘mixed reality’. Unlike in virtual or augmented realities, the virtual and the real can interact with one another fluidly in mixed reality.
“We heard about it and thought it has great potential to revolutionise our processes,” she says.
“I look at the work we do and think it can make a worthwhile difference. The research we do is preparing us for the future.”
CBA Innovation Labs
A hub for design thinking
Hugh Ong (above) is one of the managers of Emerging Technology at CBA, which helps groups work through a variety of problems using design thinking to develop disruptive and transformative new solutions, and take them from idea to product.
1. Design thinking turns problem-solving in business on its head by starting with an understanding of a particular customer need, then looking for a solution.
2. Empathy is a really important part of design thinking; putting the customer at the heart of the process.
3. Empathy leads to insights, which leads to brainstorming ideas using techniques such as “parallel worlds” and “breaking the rules”, approaching the solution from the customer’s perspective.
4. In the prototype stage, CBA selects the idea or ideas with the most potential, and then proceeds to develop a prototype.
5. Finally, they test prototypes with the customer, evaluating their needs and capturing feedback. They return to the prototype and improve it until
it meets the customer’s need.
Illustration: Leonie Herson