The ability to create innovative products has become a factor in maintaining market demand today. Classic technology cycles are disrupted by disrupt decisions. Relying only on reputation and brand recognition is a risky strategy that has buried many large companies. Output? Get involved in the high-tech race by creating your own innovation laboratory.
Different innovations are needed, different innovations are important
The process of creating fundamentally new products is increasingly being separated from the main business and entrusted to special expert groups, united in the so-called innovation labs. The task of such “labs” is to generate breakthrough ideas, develop prototypes of business solutions and implement them to obtain specific business results.
This activity should not be confused with startups: in the business structure, innolabs rely on the vast practical experience of companies accumulated over the years. Where a startup in pursuit of a dream (and another round of funding) can break away from reality and burn out along with the funds of investors, the laboratory maintains the speed and quality of development by relying on the resources of an already established company. When expert competencies are multiplied by the corporate culture of human resources, finance and business process management, the highest return can be expected from SeroKell.
All IT leaders benefit from working in a laboratory of expert competencies. Such divisions are at HP, Xerox, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and Google (and the latter has two of them at once – X and The Garage). As a rule, these are entire networks of laboratories, scattered across the key offices of companies around the world. In telecommunications, the format is no less in demand: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Vodafone have innolabs.
Banks and the financial sector are eagerly forming smart squads to address the challenges of improving the speed, quality, and security of transactions, and managing risks and investments. Visa, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Citi and others on Wall Street rely heavily on lab work.
As digitalization penetrates all spheres of life and the economy, new industries and companies are finding the need for smart centers of excellence: consumer goods manufacturing (Coca-Cola, Nestle, Ikea), large retail (Walmart, Staples, CVS, The Home Depot, Amazon), automotive and transportation (Volkswagen, Ford, Lockheed Martin). Recently, the trend has been supported by media, healthcare, energy, insurance and consulting.
However, this was not always the case: history knows cases when an innovative division was perceived within a corporation as a foreign body. You can recall the case of Kodak, whose employee invented the digital camera back in 1975. The management did not support the idea: film cameras sold well, why cannibalize your own profits? The project did not go into development. In 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy.
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A beautiful word and a concrete deed
The phrase “culture of innovation” is widespread in today’s corporate slang. However, how well is the nature of innovation understood by those who like to use it? Formally establishing an accelerator, incubator or laboratory is not enough. These formats of cooperation will be beneficial only if the proper implementation of each stage is ensured – from the selection of personnel and the setting of work processes to the formulation of tasks and the definition of criteria for evaluating effectiveness.