How to set up an Innovation Lab in your office
Innovation Lab is a space destined to optimize innovation in a company by setting up a creative, collaborative environment where new knowledge is exchanged and ideas are developed.
Having a space designated for innovation can also bring gains to company culture and internal communications, since it is a hub that will be disseminating the knowledge acquired from each project and thus spreading innovation culture.
An innovation lab requirements
Before getting into technicalities, we must ponder one thing: if the lab will be built for people, what do human beings need it to be like? What will bring the best out of their work performance?
Each lab should be designed to meet the needs of each company and its heterogeneous body of employees, and an in-depth study should be done to understand those needs.
We are social creatures moved by engagement, be it during work or outside of it.
There are tremendous psychological gains that come from working together, feeling resourceful and making a change.
It must be or have:
- Spacious, open and strategically located so that a considerable volume of people can interact with the lab and also see and be part of what’s happening inside;
- Creativity stimulating by having movable and colorful furniture, which creates a sense of dynamism and adaptability to different contexts;
- With whiteboards and open walls to facilitate the sharing of ideas, as well as inspiring decoration such as quotes and technological concepts;
- Technology available to allow real-time exchange with remote workers or other offices, which will speed up decision-making.
The Innovation Lab Team should be multidisciplinary
It would be ideal to have designers, researchers and business experts, among others. This team must perform a careful curation, so that the complementary talents can create synergy at work.
The team will be responsible for the research, and for analyzing qualitative and quantitative data, as well as maintaining records of the information.
Meanwhile, the lab manager must act as a bridge between the lab and the other areas of the company – including customers and partners – while acting as an intermediate to collect the information required for each project.
The leader is also responsible for communicating the results internally, as well as promoting a culture of innovation. Consequently, this is the person who will seek to maintain a holistic view of the problems and possible solutions.
So, he/she will be able to involve key stakeholders that can contribute to the project in the best possible way.
How to select the lab’s projects
The projects will be chosen in accordance with the company’s strategic interests.
Managers can suggest projects based on their department’s needs, and ideas can also come from the research carried out in the lab.
At any rate, it’s important for the decision-making process to be collaborative and it should involve all the stakeholders necessary for the success of a project: managers, other employees, lab members, company partners and, especially, end users.
This constant interaction is not only necessary to decide which project to undertake but also throughout each step of the process.
How to measure the effectiveness of the projects
A deep immersion in the business will make it easier to create metrics.
It’s necessary to define, on a case-by-case basis, the metrics that should be verified, and the way in which they are to be monitored and analyzed.
This information will be shared with other departments and, with the participation of key stakeholders in the process, measuring the range of innovative efforts will gradually become more assertive.
An Innovation Lab is a new beginning
In times of a growing demand for innovation due to a saturated market with overflowing competition, an innovation lab is an investment that has the potential to bring many internal and external benefits to your company.
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