What is an innovation lab and how do they work?
Organization, including fortune 500 companies have become more collaborative to accelerate innovation in their internal and external channels.PWC, Unilever, kimberly-clark, Microsoft, Infosys, American airlines and many more are on board ,why?
Because there’s so much we can draw out from collective wisdom
(They have a million ways to help you nail down what you want to achieve)
Labs are now commonplace across industries from retail, to telecoms and travel.
But what exactly is an innovation lab, and how do they work?
How to define an innovation lab?
The drawing below shows there are many ways to encourage innovation within a business.
The challenges of setting up an innovation lab
Andra Sonea, systems architect, eloquently sums up some of the many questions that companies need to ask themselves in the course of creating an innovation lab.
I’ll paraphrase slightly as follows:
- What roles should be filled?
- What types of people make the best innovators?
- Should you recruit from inside the company or look for fresh perspectives?
- Do you define a governance framework from the beginning or let it evolve?
- What projects will you prioritise?
- How do you integrate with the rest of the organisation and not be perceived as outlaws?
- Do you need dedicated infrastructure?
- How can ideas be tested softly? Who are your actual clients?
The aims of the innovation lab
Whilst the goal of any innovation lab is ultimately to create new revenue streams or bolster existing ones by improving productivity or speed, there is much more to consider.
Incubating a new culture
Many think of culture as the wishy washy side of both innovation and digital transformation.
Fairly obviously, this is a large part of what innovation labs promise. That can involve hackathons or day-long collaborative events.
This isn’t always an aim of innovation labs, but opening up data for third parties to innovate can be a good method of early product development in certain industries.
There are many positives for opening Innovation Labs but these are only one element of innovation. I think key is combining the right mix of teams, a mix of technical expertise, business expertise and creativity and of course speed to market for new products. Hence alot of the great new innovations, like Hive, seem to be emerging from startups where everyone is encouraged to innovate.