By nature, big companies are risk averse, fearing that risky endeavors can hurt their brand. But the irony is that this kind of avoidance strategy ends up threatening their long-term survival. According to Innovation Enterprise, “Fifty-two percent of the firms that made up the Fortune 500 in the year 2000 are now gone because they failed to make the digital shift.“ Digital technologies now give smaller and more nimble businesses the ability to disrupt industries and provide new revenue opportunities. Competitors can use these technologies to disrupt risk averse companies and hurt their profits and shareholder expectations. Companies must innovate or die. To remain competitive, enterprise organizations are now implementing innovation labs.
What is an Innovation Lab
Enterprise organizations create innovation labs to mimic startup organizations and the spirit of Silicon Valley. Google, for example, evolved into a behemoth of an organization now called Alphabet yet created Google Labs in an attempt to remain innovative. The characteristics of these labs is that they are located away from the organization allowing incubation teams to experiment with ideas with little to no interference from corporate. According to Capgemini Consulting, in a recent report called the Innovation Game, thirty-eight percent of the world’s top 200 companies have set up innovation centers. They are particularly strong in the manufacturing and telecom sectors. The most popular locations are Silicon Valley (53), London (10), Paris (9) and Singapore (7).
About Innovation Labs
Innovation Labs are generally used to create new products and disruptive technologies. And many companies are running them. Manulife Financial launched its Labs of Forward Thinking to research forward looking technologies. Microsoft Research is one of the oldest and largest groups of its kind, founded in 1991 and currently employing more than 1,000 scientists and engineers who focus on dozens of areas of computing. Acronis Labs is a $10 million research and development center to innovate cloud services, Big Data, archiving and mobility tools. Even countries are implementing innovation labs: Pakistan created a civic innovation lab to strengthen communities; Mexico City created an innovation lab to facilitate collaboration between the government and its people; and Germany created Social Impact Labs across the country to focus on enterprise development.
How a Platform Supports Innovation
Technologies exist to support innovation labs. Small technology point solutions like Spigit and Hype exist only to solve individual innovation challenges. Brightidea is a more holistic enterprise solution that not only supports the full gamut of innovation challenges, but now allow offers a dedicated product for innovation labs. Because of the complexity of their needs and potential opportunities, enterprise innovation labs generally require a comprehensive enterprise platform like Brightidea.
Innovation Labs helps companies achieve tangible results—financial and otherwise. Nick Selk, Innovation Program Manager at Cisco, states that the company achieved “$54 million in recorded innovation outcomes over the past couple of years” and $170 million in projected outcomes. Steve Healy, Head of New Business Ideas for BT Group stated, “For every $1 invested in our innovation program we have returned over $75 to the business and of the ideas chosen for implementation, the resulting cost savings and new revenue generated is in excess of £250 million.”