RBC challenges students to invent the future bank

Source: Royal Bank of Canada

Taking campus ingenuity from the classroom to the boardroom, RBC is launching its annual Next Great Innovator Challenge by calling on university and college students to suggest an innovation that will be critical to Canadian financial services in 2015.

"We're working in a different landscape now and the very way in which people approach financial services is constantly evolving," said Avi Pollock, head, Applied Innovation and Strategic Planning, RBC. "This year's challenge takes this into consideration and we want to hear from students what they think financial services should look like in five years. It's not just about a good idea though: students must consider how to implement their innovation."

Now in its fifth year, the RBC Next Great Innovator Challenge has been established as the principal innovation contest open to all Canadian students. Garnering nationwide participation since its inception, the Challenge has attracted over 600 entries from schools across the country and $170,000 of prize money has been awarded.

Many ideas generated by competing students over the past five years have been tested and refined in the RBC Applied Innovation Lab, and some have been directly integrated into the business. The winning submission from 2007, the VIBE interactive personal banking workstation, is currently being piloted at RBC.

"From brainstorming potential innovations to presenting in front of a panel of executives in a boardroom, the Next Great Innovator Challenge has been an invaluable experience," said Jan-Lukas Wolf, member of the 2009/10 winning team from the Schulich School of Business. "Not only did I gain a wealth of knowledge, I also gained a competitive advantage in getting a job upon graduation and launched my career at RBC this summer."

This year's Challenge offers $45,000 in prize money and asks Canadian college and university students to look five years ahead to suggest an innovation that will be critical to Canadian financial services in 2015. Entries will be evaluated by the RBC Applied Innovation team and narrowed down to the top 15 submissions. These entries will then be reviewed by a panel of RBC executives and the top four will be chosen as finalists. The panel will also select five additional entries for the peer voting selection process. A short synopsis of each peer voting entry will be posted on www.nextgreatinnovator.com with the leading vote-getting entry chosen as the fifth finalist in January 2010.

Teams must register their intention to submit a proposal online before November 8, 2010. All completed proposals must be submitted by December 10, 2010.

The finalist teams will be awarded as follows: $20,000 to the winning team, $10,000 to the second place team, and $5,000 to 3 runner-up teams. Finalists also receive an all-expense paid trip to Toronto for the opportunity to meet with and present their ideas to a judging panel that includes senior RBC executives. The final evaluations and awards ceremony will take place in March 2011 in Toronto.

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