The opening of this lab was one of a number of critical investments to enhance TD’s abilities to ideate, create and incorporate leading-edge technology. The bank has since added other innovation teams and labs across the organization. Each has its own area of expertise, but all are aligned to TD’s innovation ecosystem to explore and develop solutions that create exceptional customer and employee experiences that make lives’ simpler.
In the Communitech Hub, TD Lab develops ideas using agile and design methodologies, which culminate in the building of prototypes by a lean, full time technology team and rotating group of university co-op students who are hired each term as UX/UI designers, full stack developers, business analysts and data scientists. Outside of its development work, TD also supports external tech programming that engages startups and fintechs, and promotes STEM to students and underserved communities, such as minorities and women across Canada.
“Waterloo Region and the Communitech ecosystem empowers our teams to fully explore emerging technologies and develop the next generation of customer experiences. The ways that we can engage with highly-desired talent and startups in the collaborative technology community in the Waterloo Region directly leads to the creation of innovative solutions that simplify the lives of our customers. As our partnership with Communitech continues to mature, we remain focused on building the next generation of innovators while expanding access and support for students, women and minorities in STEM.”
– Michael Rhodes, Group Head, Innovation, Technology and Shared Services, TD Bank
TD’s Innovation Process
A green and white sign bearing two familiar letters – TD – lights up and serves as a beacon in one of the largest spaces reserved for select corporate partners in the Communitech Hub. It’s here where the TD Lab team pioneered a corporate model to develop ideas centred on solving for key customer problems using digital and emerging technologies. Through a rapid cycle of ideation, design, prototyping and validation, insights are discovered and innovations created to explore and experiment for the bank on potential opportunities and areas for further development. The TD Lab provides a unique environment to continually evolve and enhance the bank’s digital interactions with customers and employees in order to serve their evolving needs and develop next generation financial products and services.
- Co-op & Campus Recruitment
Each term, TD Lab hires co-op students from regional universities as UX/UI designers, full stack developers, business analysts and data scientists. These students are paired with our full-time team of experts in their field and utilize a rapid prototyping and design thinking-centred approach. Per term, five to eight prototypes are created in one of three categories: technology exploration, customer exploration, and research exploration. As of the Lab’s fourth anniversary at Communitech, there have been more than 140 students come through our program, with a many coming back to TD after graduation to our popular associate program and as full-time hires.
- Startup Engagement
Innovation can be born from the collaborative efforts of early stage, smaller companies and large enterprises. TD helps shape and participates in key Communitech programs that bring these companies together to make connections that may lead to partnerships, product adoption, acquisition, or investment.
- Collision Days
In collaboration with Communitech, TD regularly runs “Enterprise Collision Days”. In these events, select startups have an opportunity to meet privately with key TD executive decision makers and present on a specific topic or challenge. Collision Days have proven to be a unique way to fast-track high potential partnerships through the bank, and have led to successful out-comes including Proof of Concept deployments, RFP participation, and even funding through the TD “Patents for Startups” program.
Underrepresented Populations and Youth in STEM
TD has a three-year national sponsorship with Actua, Canada’s largest science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach organization. The sponsorship will support its National Girls Program providing transformational STEM experiences across Canada. The sponsorship content, supported by TD through volunteer employees and delivered by Actua’s net-work of 35 university and college-based members, focuses on numeracy and financial literacy through coding and computational thinking programming. Through this partnership, thousands of youth have the opportunity to engage in exciting, hands-on design challenges, as well as activities around parity and data collection, which help apply numeracy skills to computer science and topics like cybersecurity.
- GIRLS ROCK I.T.
TD annually sponsors Fanshawe’s School of Information Technology’s all-female technology exploration day, Girls Rock IT. This is an interactive and fun event introducing 200 girls in grades seven and eight to a wide variety of potential careers in the tech field. Over the course of the day, students choose and explore a mix of games and hands-on workshops covering topics like coding, hacking, hardware, networking, and unlocking creativity. TD Lab teaches the basic principles of Design Thinking, inclusive of a 50 minute ideation session.
- Business Engagement Program (BEP)
Waterloo Region’s Business Engagement Program aims to give high school students from both the Waterloo Region District School Board and the Waterloo Region Catholic District School Board the core skills needed to explore and succeed in STEM fields. With Communitech hosting BEP’s fall and spring Explore Your Future events, TD runs design thinking and ideation work-shops with the students to explore themes such as financial literacy, gamification, and digital experience. By the end of the workshop, the students have created, in small teams, prototypes and pitch their solutions to the entire group.
- E3: Engaging in Entrepreneurship & Engineering
Structured as an interactive, hands-on and action-packed week for high school students entering grades 11 & 12, this program is an opportunity to learn the basics of entrepreneurship, including business model creation, designing, prototyping, and market validation. The camp culminates with a celebration of the ideas developed by way of a tour and pitch competition at the Communitech Hub. TD is proud to fund the E3 program with its commitment to future talent.
- Code To Win/Design To Win
The best minds in computer coding or design think (UX/UI) rise to the challenge to compete in either of these truly unique competitions. Open to post-secondary students from select Canadian universities and colleges, the competition has participants choosing to solve either a coding challenge or design problem for sizable cash prizes and bragging rights. TD is an Innovator sponsor for the Code/Design to Win program, hosting the top 75 coders and designer for the finals in Waterloo each January.
- Hack The North & Other Campus-based Hackathons
TD Campus Recruitment sponsors a variety of hackathons across the country in order to meet new talent and share the TD story. This includes Hack the North, Canada’s biggest hackathon, where 1,000 students of different skill levels come together from around the world to experiment and create unique software or hardware projects from scratch. As a sponsor, TD supports, empowers and enables teams to create innovative prototypes in only 36 hours. With any hackathon sponsorship, TD brings experts from a wide range of Technology teams to mentor students, hosts workshops, and offers competitive prizes, inclusive of co-op and internship placements.