Establish and Evaluate
Innovation Labs, Studios, Centers. Many names typically explaining the same thing; a physical environment for companies to create, with the mission to serve as a focal point for innovation programs and activities or showcase innovations for customers. As you may have noticed, their popularity have soared the last decades.
They can be hugely effective when used correctly, or they can be a very costly form of innovation theater, sure to be demounted at the first cost-cutting initiative. The difference is, of course, in setting the right aspiration and supporting it with the right ability.
When organization´s solution to showing their “innovativeness” is to to build a flamboyant new work environment, decorate it with bean bags, ping pong tables, keep the cold-brew on tap and think that voila: we’re innovative, because we´ve got ourselves a lab. Then they are in trouble. Instead, make sure to follow these imperative areas when setting up your lab:
- Its leader should be someone the organization trust and is well-connected internally
- Ensure that the lab´s “raison d’être” is clear and that its activities are tightly linked to the overall business and innovation strategy (does not have to be core!)
- Ensure that it is clear between the business units and the lab if the aspiration is “Incremental” or Radical innovation, manage expectations and measures accordingly
When we evaluate Innovation labs, example areas we assess:
- Coherence to the business
- Business unit communication and runways, does it work?
- Train in creativity techniques
- Install executive support
When we establish Innovation labs, example areas we focus on:
- Location of the lab
- Resource allocation
- Operational Model
- Install Raison d’être
- Designing the lab according to your company DNA (through our innovation management assessment)