Research & Open Innovation


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Research & Open Innovation: science and technology for the banking of the future

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Innovation means always being ready for evolution and for all the upcoming challenges, in order to develop and prototype new scientific and technological products and services to facilitate the relationship with clients.


Starting from these aims, in 2012 UniCredit set up a team dedicated to research and development activities, matching engineering, program-developing, projecting, prototyping and testing skills. Under the supervision of Riccardo Prodam - an international figure in this field - the multi-skilled team has developedquickly, and since 2014 has expanded its horizons, becoming an effective department:    Group Research & Open Innovation within Group Chief Information Office perimeter.


In addition to its core activities as an experimental laboratory, Group Research & Open Innovation is exploring new projects in the field of digitalization and  processes reengineering. The department  is the first promoter of the innovation culture in the Group, and is unique in UniCredit for developing innovative solutions - with a view to patenting - which are not traditionally associated with the banking industry, but totally aligned with the bank of the future, given that the matching between technology and business is one of the fundamental key-driver towards the banking of the future.


UniCredit Group Research & Open Innovation follows a unique research-method: finding ideas, searching without limits, thinking of new uses, hacking, re-programming, offering a solution, and matching it with the business problems.  In addition,  it  evolves, expands and develops the idea as the need increases.


The modus operandi is a fast, cost attentive and expert-led production. Wherever possible the latest innovations in electronics and cutting-edge materials are used.


Research & Open Innovation activity is based on a continuous commitment to exploring and reingeneering, in order to create number-one solutions in terms of services and products, both for functionalities and delivery within the banking scenario.  The projects on the table and under review are many, with different stages of development, in addition to which is a catalogue of products/services which is constantly being updated, integrated and developed.

Projects and Products

Research and development - pos


One of the first prototypes to emerge from the R&D laboratory is called Papillon, a touchless biometric POS (point of sale). This multi-option payment device was produced 100% in-house from concept to programing. In the future, Papillon will allow people to pay with biometric identity authentication, a scan of their palm veins, for an innovative and highly secure experience.


In a completely safe, and non-invasive operation the user registers a scan of their palm, that will be translated into a numeric sequence. From that moment on, each time the hand is scanned by an identification system,  it is  recognized, with no possibility of errors. This unique form of identity can be connected to their current account for payment or used to register for a retailer's loyalty program. It replaces the need for a credit or debit card and PIN.


To use Papillon the vendor follows instructions on an intuitive touchscreen interface to process transactions using palm scanning, near field communication (NFC) or card payment methods.
The uses for Papillon could stretch to any situation that requires a person to prove their identity.


UniCredit Group Research & Open Innovation  is developing different products, starting from the ambition of  re-imagining how UniCredit should confront and drive its business in a world that is now more interconnected than ever before in history.



DIVA is the first temporary branch project in UniCredit, based on the idea of creating a temporary banking unit, always available, innovative, and flexible, in order to exploit new different opportunities for installing a banking service anywhere, while using the multi-functional and mobile technologies to meet the customers' needs. DIVA occupies only 7mq the same size of a camper, and eases the relationship withclients in a comfortable and secluded environment.


24 HRS ATM, touch wall as catalogues on products and services, and free WiFi connections are a few of the services available inside DIVA.

The design has been implemented to allow an intuitive and easy banking experience. DIVA was installed for the first time in Austria during the annual film festival at Rathusplatz in Vienna, and also located in Italy close to Bocconi University.  Additional locations willsoon be placed in other popular areas in which UniCreditis present.



The project aims to simplify and cut the response time for the resolution of complex processes in the branches from 5 weeks to 5 minutes, thanks to the introduction of automated procedures, without changing the pre-existing architecture. This solution requires only a few weeks to be implemented, has significantly reduced the response time towards clients, and optimized the activity in the branches, allowing much more time to focus on client requests and offer adequate solutions.

Currently we are working to verify if this application fits, and can benefit, other internal processes.

Updated on February 13, 2015
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