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#24 How Deutsche Bank Innovation Labs operate – Niklas Grunewald

Niklas Grunewald joined Deutsche Bank in 2016, working out of the Deutsche Bank Innovation Labs on various technological and strategic initiatives across the bank’s business and infrastructure divisions.

Prior to Deutsche Bank, Niklas built and sold an accounting-tech company, helped build, operate and scale Berlin-based VC Redstone as first employee and Investment Manager, and served as an investment analyst at a super-Angel fund.

Niklas holds a BSc. from WHU and MSc. from ESCP Europe


  • The labs have five core focuses: tech transfer, supporting digital strategy, narrative communication, collaboration within Deutsche Bank, and fostering a digital culture. (01:17)
  • Technology transfer involves scouting technologies in the market and matching them to internal needs or developing solutions for external clients. (01:54)
  • The labs work with various divisions and stakeholders to test and evaluate solutions before adoption. (02:29)
  • Deutsche Bank’s innovation efforts vary between B2B and B2C projects, with a focus on digital transformation. (03:35)
  • They educate employees on technology and digital literacy through workshops and sessions tailored to different stakeholder groups. (08:20)
  • The labs work closely with business counterparts to align their innovation projects with the bank’s priorities. (12:35)
  • Niklas discusses examples of successful projects, such as supporting a startup like Sophia Technologies and the Beyond Banking efforts. (22:11)
  • Keeping up with market trends and technologies involves monitoring blogs, academic research, and strategic intelligence teams. (27:36)
  • Niklas emphasizes the importance of understanding domain-specific expertise and seeking opportunities to learn and collaborate. (30:55)

Interesting Quotes:

Deutsche Bank Innovation Labs have 5 Goals:
* Drive technology transfer
* Support digital strategy
* Co-develop digital narrative
* Drive global collaboration
* Foster innovation culture

At the beginning, communicate well and raise awareness with internal stakeholders

Create demand for change by exposing stakeholders to technological possibilities and ventures in the market

Innovation is about adapting to ever shorter product life cycles by challenging the status quo and act on the findings respectively

Align well and work closely with top management and digital leaders to deliver along the right priorities

Build a strong network of internal stakeholders with similar beliefs

Have bold ambitions

Book Recommendations:

Under the Volcano – Malcolm Lowry