How To Not Screw Up Your Innovation Lab
Innovation labs: they are the talk of the town. Your company has one too, right? Wait – no? So you have Wii’s to ‘get creative’, chickens to hug when you need some relaxation and fresh herbal tea for inspiration? And you think this is part of a successful innovation lab? Well, we think not. An innovation lab can be many things, varying from a strategic and goal-focused unit to Google’s ‘20% free innovation time’ model. But it needs focus to help you reach goals.
So, how do you prevent your lab to end like Buzzfeed’s Open Lab: soon to be closed? At Friday Out Of The Box we don’t really care about the mean but rather the end. So the real question is: how to achieve visible results from your innovation lab? Check these eight boxes and become an innovation hero.
1. The lab should not have all the fab
Innovation is everyone’s business. Don’t put the spotlights on the lab rats. Diversity in teams and collaboration between departments are essential for the best ideas.
2. Focus your projects.
Pick a vertical such as marketing, product development or IT innovation. Not focusing on your direction will slow down the learning curve. And frankly… isn’t innovation about learning first and then getting the glory of success?
3. Appoint a challenge owner.
Don’t find solutions, find a challenge owner! Finding one will ensure strategic alignment and the killing of bad ideas. Did I say ‘bad idea’? Yes, they exist! Ideas should contribute to organizational goals.
4. Think business value.
Business value is beyond creating additional revenue. Don’t take the loss if a project fails. Instead, explain how the business can benefit from the lessons learned.
5. Always make innovation a business project.
Let company directors do the debating for the possible innovation goals … with each other. Nice side effect: they will be committed and more likely to supply the critical resources.
6. Dare to let go of physical innovation.
Do you want to spend your day playing with gadgets… or would you rather come up with business solutions? Focus on managing the process from ideation and prototyping to testing and roll-out.
7. Throw away the NDA.
When selecting partners, start with trust instead of an NDA. With an NDA you basically say: “I don’t trust you, but I want to work with you”. Is that a solid basis for a partnership? We think not.
8. Stop your content fetish.
Innovation is 5% Ideation, 95% Execution. Make sure that strong project management is in place. Don’t have it? Hire it. It can make a huge difference: you need speed!
Are you inspired? Great! Now… back to work. Let us know if you need anything. We will take you further than just a good idea.