Today is TD Tech Day, an annual event for select media and influencers to hear more about the Bank's unique innovation and modernization story.
Over the years, TD has hosted this event to share compelling stories on a range of topics in the tech space, as well as the Bank's innovation journey. This year's theme is Inclusive Innovation and how TD is working to bring this to life across the Bank.
There's no denying that an increasing number of our day-to-day interactions are being shaped by technological innovations, from the ways we work, to the ways we connect and collaborate. What's more, many of these evolutions were accelerated over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Artificial intelligence chatbots, virtual reality interactions, and cloud-based experiences are now the norm for many Canadians, whether we're calling home, buying groceries, or opening a savings account.
But how can we help ensure the technological innovations we are creating are equitable for everyone, including individuals from underrepresented communities?
TD Stories caught up with Christine Morris, Senior Executive Vice President, Transformation, Enablement and Customer Experience, to learn more about how her team is focused on inclusive innovation, and Greg Keeley, Senior Executive Vice President, Platforms and Technology, to learn more about the Bank's technology strategy.
The theme of this year's TD Tech Day event is 'Inclusive Innovation.' Can you tell us a little more about what that means to you?
Christine Morris: My role at TD is all about enabling teams across the Bank to deliver legendary experiences, and to drive transformation through innovation. And yet, I'm not a huge fan of the word ‘innovation,' as it's lost a bit of its meaning. It's easy to fall into the trap of innovating for the sake of innovating. It leaves us to spark changes that lack meaning and impact behind them. However, true innovation – in other words, inclusive innovation – has the power to be transformative. At TD, innovation comes from all areas of the Bank, and is an important part of our culture. We recognize that the best way to innovate, change or transform something is to start with truly understanding it. Inclusive innovation gives us an opportunity to continue to embed equity into who we are as an organization and how we are serving our customers, colleagues, and communities. Ultimately, we want to deliver personalized experiences for all the customers we serve and contribute to the innovation ecosystem in our communities – helping to drive better outcomes for all.
Greg Keeley: Organizations that don't innovate with purpose cease to progress and remain relevant. It's as simple as that. Inclusive innovation helps to put us in a position to better meet the evolving needs of everyone we work with – including customers, colleagues, and communities – inclusively, effectively and in an accessible manner. In order to innovate, we also need to have a diverse and inclusive work environment. Our goal is to continually seek ways to build the most inclusive bank in the market that fosters a culture of care, inspires innovation, and encourages respect. Our work is rooted in a desire to make our customers, communities, and colleagues feel confident that they can thrive in a changing world. As part of that, our technology strategy is rooted in our people, who are helping to power the future of banking at TD.
How is TD embracing Inclusive Innovation?
Christine Morris: Inclusive innovation is as much about personalization as it is anything else. To be able to deliver personalized, connected and legendary experiences you simply have to be inclusive – in how you innovate and in the outcomes you create.
A great example of how TD is innovating with purpose is the creation of the Equity Resource Hub, developed by TD Labs last year. With a focus on inclusive design, the platform was first made accessible to anyone within TD but is now available to anyone outside the Bank, for free (via open-source access). Another example is the TD Assistive Technologies Research Lab that is focused on keeping our Assisted Technology standards up-to-date and can offer the most benefits to our colleagues. We are the first bank in Canada to have a dedicated research lab like this, with a team that researches, develops and tests new technology to provide employees with access to useful and adaptive tools.
At this year's TD Tech Day, we are dedicated to keeping inclusivity top of mind across all areas of the Bank. Later today we will be showcasing how TD is embracing inclusive innovation in new and unique ways, including responding to the needs of our customers who are deaf, introducing a new tool to drive inclusive online experiences, and offering new virtual experiences.
As we continue along our innovation journey, we will explore new technology to work with, new programs to introduce and new tools to implement – grounded in the goal of innovating with purpose.
What role does diverse representation play in inclusive innovation?
Greg Keeley: Diversity and Inclusion are an integral part of the TD culture of care. Each of us live very different lives, have differing experiences and face unique experiences. That's why as an organization we continue to challenge ourselves to include and value different perspectives. As a purpose-driven bank, it's not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. Having diverse representation at the table helps us to identify any gaps or issues we might not have previously considered or personally experienced. This in turn helps drive inclusive and meaningful innovation.
Last year, we announced plans to hire more than 2,000 tech roles – and I'm proud to say we successfully reached that goal. New colleagues have joined the Bank across our footprint, embracing our geographic diversity as an organization. This includes creating a new tech hub in South Florida to help drive agility, innovation, and speed at scale to help serve our customers and address their rapidly changing needs and expectations. These colleagues, alongside those across the Bank, are delivering on important initiatives, like a transformed banking platform to help things get done faster and easier – enabling us to focus more on our customers.
Another prime example is the Obsidi Academy. Last year, we launched Obsidi Academy together with Black Professionals in Technology Network to offer a full-stack engineer bootcamp for Black individuals. Our goal in supporting the Academy is to help create spaces for under-represented talent to become full-stack engineers who can launch their careers at TD. Since last year's launch, we have welcomed 37 graduates from the Academy as full-time hires in our Software Engineering Practice at the Bank – and we are in the process of starting our next cohort.
In 2023 and beyond, our focus remains on our people: to upskill, train, and hire, with a continued focus on inclusive talent initiatives. In a time where tech layoffs have predominately impacted underrepresented groups, it makes me proud to work for an organization that has doubled down on its commitment to diversify its talent pool. The future of banking at TD is about bringing together digital, data, technology, and our skilled and experienced colleagues so that we can deliver seamlessly and flawlessly – at the same pace that our customer needs are changing.
Christine Morris: As Enterprise Chair of the Women at TD Committee, it's always top of mind for me that having unique perspectives at the table is critical. And as we continue this journey of increasing diverse representation, allyship plays a key role.
For example, Paul Clark, TD Executive Vice President, Head of Private Wealth Management and Financial Planning, is also Enterprise Chair of People with Disabilities Steering Committee. As Enterprise Chair, one of the initiatives that he's been a part of is the Customer Focus Group which plays an important role in providing feedback as we contemplate product offerings, branch development, digital interaction and the overall customer experience. This customer guidance helps us to understand personal requirements as customers interact with TD in our branches, on the phone and across our digital platforms – including making our ATM network more accessible and introducing American Sign Language.
In addition, Paul embraces his role as an active ally, advocating outside the Bank as co-Chair of the Government of Canada's Disability Inclusion Business Council. As co-Chair of the Council, he works with business leaders from a variety of sectors to help promote cultural change regarding disability and inclusion in workplaces across the country. Paul embodies true allyship and reinforces that everyone must do their part in helping to make organizations more accessible places for their colleagues and customers with disabilities.
What can we expect at TD Tech Day this year?
Greg Keeley: With this year's theme of Inclusive Innovation, we're excited to showcase the incredible work businesses across TD have done to drive innovation and foster inclusion. This includes additional support for customers who are deaf that are reaching out to our TD Contact Centre, a new TD metaverse offering and a new accessibility tool for our online customers.
I'm inspired by the conversations we're having, and the opportunity to keep moving things forward. TD Tech Day is another opportunity for all of us to understand different perspectives from both inside and outside of the Bank. Stay tuned to learn more about Inclusive Innovation efforts at TD.