January 31, 2018

What Is an Innovation Lab? 7 Practices They Help to Foster

Have you ever posed yourself the question “what is an innovation lab?” If so, you are not the only one. Basically, it is a concept rather than a physical building, and one in which a true culture of innovation becomes created and fostered. Doing this is an innovation in and of itself, however, because it means changing the existing culture. And people are incredibly resistant to change, so this is a very difficult enterprise. That said, a good innovation lab helps to foster a number of key best practices that all companies should try adopting.

What Is an Innovation Lab?

An innovation lab is an organization in which all the best practices of innovation are found and put together. According to experts, there are specific best practices, of which seven must be present before an organization can start to see itself as an “innovation lab”. Those seven key best practices are:

  1. To encourage people to read on innovation. Businesses should provide them with relevant books to read, and they should be open to suggestions for other books as well.
  2. To ensure methods are researched and presented on how people can design their innovative ideas. Having things in place such as crowdsourcing software is vital, therefore,
  3. To adopt lean methodologies. This is something organizations, even large multinationals, can learn from startups. Startups innovate every single day, and they do so on the smallest budgets imaginable. This is how real innovation comes together.
  4. To use the Business Model Canvas. This shows key partners, key activities, key resources, value propositions, customer relationships, channels, customer segments, cost structure, and revenue streams.
  5. To focus more strongly on acquisition of ideas instead of inventing new ideas. This helps to bring more innovation.
  6. To sponsor those who accelerate or incubate new programs and who attract the community within that.
  7. To put idea management software in place and make it accessible to everybody.

There are other key best practices that a good innovation law should have, which include:

  • To allow people to observe others, and make connections when they are ready.
  • To ensure all ideas actually fit in with the business.
  • To stop focusing solely on installing new technologies.
  • To run competitions for new and better ideas.
  • To host events that are like shark tanks, in which teams pitch to each other in an almost competitive manner.
  • To get rid of needless bureaucracy, forms, and red tape.
  • To ensure leaders and managers lead and manage, but that they don’t micromanage or helicopter manage. They have to lead by example.

With these examples of best practice, any organization can effectively become an innovation lab. It essentially means that it is a place where ideas are appreciated, listened to, and valued. It is a place where people feel comfortable talking about what comes in their head, without fearing they will be negatively judged for it. Most of all, however, an innovation lab is a business that is able to not just stay relevant, but to stay ahead of others.


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