NAB quietly closed its ‘NAB Labs’ testbed for emerging technologies in a restructure earlier this year, choosing to fold some of its operations into a new internal innovation function.

iTnews understands NAB Labs stopped operating during the year when innovation at NAB was restructured around a new strategy and innovation group function.

The restructure was partially announced back in late April when Nathan Goonan was appointed NAB’s head of strategy and innovation, taking control of “the execution of the bank’s strategy, innovation, and transformation agenda”, according to an FST Media report.

Howard Silby was then appointed chief innovation officer in June, and was put in charge of innovation across NAB, BNZ and UBank.

Prior to the restructure, innovation at NAB came under the auspices of the Innovation Hub, which was set up in 2015 and comprised NAB Labs and the bank’s venture capital arm NAB Ventures.

NAB Ventures continues to operate under the new innovation structure, but NAB Labs – which at one time had up to 85 staff – is a casualty.

iTnews understands that NAB Labs stopped operating earlier this year while being incorporated into the new innovation approach.

NAB Labs was credited with driving a culture of innovation within the bank, as well as seeding human-centred design (HCD) principles in the way new product and feature development was approached.

It was also a place where the bank tested technologies like machine learning and blockchain.

Its wind-down came to light as former staff, including NAB Labs technology manager Ben Stewart, exited the bank.

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