What does it take to build an Innovation Lab?

31.07.20

by Pietro Marini

New ideas, new products, cutting-edge technologies - how can a company keep up with the industry trends and maintain a leading role in the market? Our Group Head of Innovation, Pietro Marini, tells us what it takes to build a dedicated Innovation Lab

31.07.20

by Pietro Marini

New ideas, new products, cutting-edge technologies - how can a company keep up with the industry trends and maintain a leading role in the market? Our Group Head of Innovation, Pietro Marini, tells us what it takes to build a dedicated Innovation Lab

Companies that successfully implement a department fully focused on innovation can bring products to market quicker, disrupt the industry with transformative solutions, and offer clients a new way of thinking around how they do business.

However, before you create your own ‘Innovation Lab’, what are the key things to consider? And how can you ensure your Lab adds actual business value?

Here are a few tips from our Group Head of Innovation, Pietro Marini.

A shared objective

It’s essential to know what you want to achieve as an innovation team – even if you won’t necessarily have a quantifiable return-on-investment right at the start. Key players within the business from the CEO to individuals from finance, HR, commercial and marketing should share the vision for the Innovation Lab and be invested in its outcomes.

At its heart, it should aim to achieve ambidexterity throughout the company and be able to cope with tomorrow’s opportunity without losing focus on today’s objectives.

How does it fit into the wider company strategy?

Even if you’re not expected to deliver revenue to the group in the short term, how will the work you’re doing complement what the wider company is focused on? The Lab shouldn’t be introduced purely because it sounds like something you should be doing, or as a thinly veiled marketing exercise. It should be a central part of the company’s overall direction and feed into its continued success, driving a cultural shift towards an innovation-oriented mindset across the company’s staff.

Remember and keep hold of what makes your company great, the philosophy that it has been built around, and trust those around you.

Pietro Marini, Group Head of Innovation

Generate values upon your identity

It’s important for an Innovation Lab to deeply understand their industry, business, and people. Of course, there’s always room for learnings from other companies and industry experts, as well as an openness to seek advice from outside sources. But remember and keep hold of what makes your company great, the philosophy that it has been built around, and trust those around you.

Here at Deltatre, my colleagues and I underwent a full branding exercise in coordination with the Brand and Communications team, resulting in the Lab’s own visual style and logo. The benefit is that now there is something the company can organize around when talking about our innovation.

Create the right work environment

There should be significant emphasis placed on creating a space where ideas can flourish, where workers are encouraged to investigate solutions, and where they are supported in their work. A sense of openness and sharing is vital. Ideally, anyone working with the Innovation Lab should have the freedom to explore any new, exciting ideas which they think will lead to progress for the company.

It’s also important to realize when someone needs space to work alone, while recognizing when it’s best to collaborate with peers on a project. It is also worth mentioning that at Deltatre, every single employee is welcome and encouraged to work with the Lab on projects.

Build the right team

Above all, there should be a commitment to fostering an inclusive environment and recruiting people with different stories to tell. Only by bringing on people with varying expertise will you be able to approach complex technological challenges from different angles, while also promoting internal learning. 

10 Things to remember before you launch your own Innovation Lab’ originally appeared on Future Shapers on 16 July 2020. Click here to read the full article. Look out for the second post from this series in the next week.

We’d love to hear from you, get in touch with the team or join the conversation on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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