How to Build an Innovation Lab
The idea of the corporate innovation lab is taking off, with innovation labs seen as a great way for businesses to stay ahead of the curve. These dedicated spaces serve the main purpose of enhancing the technologies and innovations that your company produces. These innovation hubs give your team the space, people, and tools they need to brainstorm new ideas and test them out. Innovation hubs also ensure your team members share their talents with each other and focus on long-term advances instead of short-term returns. For many companies, the question becomes how to go about designing an innovation lab.
A Guide to Building an Innovation Lab
Create the Objectives for the Lab
The very first step of designing an innovation lab is to figure out the goals of your lab. This is when you ask yourself why you need to create an innovation hub and what problem you hope to resolve. Will your lab focus on collaborations with others in the industry? Will it figure out how to incorporate the latest technology into your company? Remember to do more than just come up with your objectives; you also need to determine how you will reach them.
Determine Your Metrics for Innovation
As with any other project, you need some method of determining if your innovation hubs are successful. This means that you need to come up with the metrics you will use to measure the success of your innovation lab. Will it be how many project ideas the team brainstorms? How many projects they bring to completion? How many new customers they bring in? The additional revenue? Ideally, you want a full portfolio of metrics to give you insight.
Get Funding and Make a Budget
You cannot innovate without access to resources and a space, both of which require funding. Now is the time to figure out where you will get funding for your innovation lab, how much you want to raise, and how much you reasonably need to run every month. To get funding, you will likely need to find partners or sponsors who believe in your mission, so you may need to create a persuasive presentation outlining what your lab will achieve.
Know How You Will Integrate the Innovations
Before you finalize the lab, do not forget to come up with a plan for how you will incorporate the ideas the team comes up with. After all, without an integration plan, innovations will be useless. Will you integrate the innovation into your company completely? Will it be independent of your main business? You need to determine all these answers.
Build It and Encourage Innovation
Finally, you are ready to create the innovation lab. Figure out how much space you need and what tools your team will require, then go ahead and build. Make sure the space encourages your team.
Should You Build an Innovation Lab?
Before you go through the process of designing an innovation lab, make sure that it is right for you. One of the reasons some innovation hubs fail is the inability to create tangible results, which could hold you back. Instead, they measure success based on the interest in their projects. If you feel confident in the metrics you decide on, then this should not be an issue, but it is still something to keep in mind.
Perhaps the most important consideration is whether there is actually a problem you need to resolve. While innovation is useful, innovation just for the sake of it will not give you results that you can apply to your company. If you just want to figure out how to incorporate a certain technology into your business, you may actually just want a “[that technology] lab,” not an innovation lab.