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Canada’s bright young minds shine at the RBC Next Great Innovator Challenge

First ever surprise ending in Challenge’s history


TORONTO, December 11, 2015 - A hundred and nine innovative minds from 23 colleges and universities across Canada. Twenty-four innovative ideas proposed in one day. But only one team can be named RBC’s Next Great Innovator – or maybe not?

During the 10th annual RBC Next Great Innovator Challenge, students were asked to solve a real-life business scenario: “Build an innovative prototype for a mobile, tablet, or online application that would be a differentiator for RBC Wealth Management within the North American (CAD & US) marketplace.”

In late November, after a challenging 24 hours, not one but two teams were named RBC’s Next Great Innovators after developing unique and innovative ideas that have the potential to improve the experience for RBC clients in the future. Each team was awarded $10,000.

  • Team RedBullOP from Sheridan College and McMaster University; and
  • Team Brock Badgers from Brock University.

“We were really impressed by the quality of ideas brought forth by all of the teams this year,” said Jacqui Allard, senior vice-president and head, Wealth Management Solutions & Client Experience, RBC. “Our two winning teams truly captured the essence of the competition by applying innovative technology solutions to enhance the client experience.”

'As the Challenge continues to evolve each year, we are always impressed with the calibre of students participating,' said Gabriel Woo, vice-president of Innovation, RBC. 'Providing students with an environment that allows them to solve complicated, real-world problems in a creative way is a testament to RBC’s commitment to innovation and new ideas. Collaborating with some of Canada’s brightest young minds gives the students valuable work experience and provides us the opportunity to explore creative and fresh ideas.'

Challenge submissions were evaluated by the RBC Applied Innovation team and narrowed down to the top proposals. A panel of RBC executives including Jacqui Allard, senior vice-president, Wealth Management Solutions & Client Experience, Jean-Francois Dion, vice-president, Canadian Equities, Rick Hariman, vice-president, Global Wealth Management Applications, Mike Rollason, vice-president & director, Canadian Managed Accounts and Gabriel Woo, vice-president of Innovation, then selected the two winning teams from a short list of five finalist teams. The remaining three finalists in the competition each took home $2,000. RBC’s Campus Recruitment team partnered with Applied Innovation to host this event.

Since its start in 2006, the RBC Next Great Innovator (NGI) Challenge has received almost 700 post-secondary student team submissions and almost 3,000 student participants. Prior to 2013, NGI was strictly an essay competition. Since then, three of RBC’s four events have been Prototyping Challenges.

Over the years, numerous ideas put forward by NGI participants have been tested and streamlined in the RBC Innovation Experience Lab and some have been developed for use at RBC. One example is RBC Connect, RBC’s Digital Social Collaboration tool, which was the eventual implementation of an idea submitted to answer the 2009 challenge “Suggest innovative methods or tactics to transform the workplace to match the needs of an evolving and increasingly diverse workforce.” Prototype submissions this year will follow the same process.

For more information on the RBC Next Great Innovator Challenge, visit or follow on Twitter (@rbcinnovator).

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For more information, please contact:
Nicola Hanson, Corporate Communications, RBC, 416-974-6303