Innovation Labs: The Good, the Bad, and the Uninspired

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Does your company have a creative space for coming up with new ideas? Many large companies now do, and they’re becoming more popular day by day. These spaces, known as innovation labs, are safe places for organizations to implement idea management, experiment, discuss projects, and come up with new ideas.

Innovation labs are sometimes called accelerators, research hubs, and incubators, but they can really be any space specified for getting the creative juices flowing. A conference room or empty office could just as well become an innovation lab when one is needed.

The main purpose of an innovation lab is to add value to an organization while generating growth. These labs exist across all industries from retail to travel and beyond.

Why Innovation Is Essential

Innovation is essential in all industries. It’s what drives the creation of new products and stimulates business development. According to recent innovation stats, 80 percent of business owners feel their current business will be disrupted in the near future, while 84 percent cite innovation as an important part of their growth strategy.

What Makes an Innovation Lab Work?

The success of an innovation lab depends on a few key factors. You need a diverse team whose members are willing to work together. Everyone should bring different skills to the table and understand that some ideas will be accepted while others are rejected.

Make sure your team is purpose-driven. Outlining specific goals and objectives before ever setting foot in the innovation lab will help each member stay focused.

Don’t be afraid to look outside the company for new ideas. Innovation can come from places other than the organization itself. For example, you might look to customers or experts in other industries when using idea management to develop your next product line.

Why Some Innovation Labs Fail

Unfortunately, not all innovation labs are successful. A report by Capgemini cites up to 90 percent of innovation labs fail because they don’t deliver on what they promised. While the reasons for this will be specific to each company, here are a few common problems to avoid.

Trash basket with crumpled paper.
Some ideas are bound to be trashed in favor of more likely successes.

Lack of business alignment can cause an innovation lab to fail. Your innovation strategy must be clear and should line up with that of the company. For example, do you know if your innovation should serve the core business or disrupt it?

You need a clear vision of how innovation initiatives will impact your company. Create clear goals to help everyone understand the lab’s purpose and direction.

Make sure your ideas can continue growing beyond the innovation lab. Once an idea is validated, it may need somewhere to go for additional support. This destination may be the core business or somewhere outside the organization altogether.

Help Your Innovation Lab Succeed with Idea Management

Idea management is a process that enables ideas to be collected, evaluated, and prioritized. Use this platform to go outside your company for innovation, opening more opportunities than ever for idea sharing and collaboration. You can then bring those ideas to the innovation lab for further consideration and cultivation.

Not sure where to start? Get the Innovation Starter Kit and download our Crowdsourcing to Innovate Products white paper to get started today!

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