Good management is essential to the success of your innovation lab. But even more important is creating a culture in which innovation will thrive. Without a supportive and encouraging culture, innovation can easily wither and die.
Over the past few decades, there’s been an explosion in the number of innovation labs in both the public and the private sectors. Sometimes they’re called “accelerators” or “business incubators”, sometimes they’re called “R&D hubs” or even “war rooms”, but they all amount to basically the same thing. The rush to create innovation labs has certainly been a positive development, but it hasn’t automatically led to successful innovation.
Culture is key
It’s clear why so many innovation labs fail to deliver on their promises — they only work if they’re managed in a strategic, structured, and inclusive way. But even more important is a culture of innovation that allows a lab to thrive in the long term. And when I say culture, what I really mean is people. In other words, human capital.
Human capital is made up of three key elements: skills, experience, and knowledge. Innovation requires more than simply having the right processes, methods, and tools in place — if you don’t have the people who can master these processes, methods, and tools, you haven’t a hope. You need skills, experience, and knowledge to build a creative innovation lab that has real potential and can last the distance.
Putting experience first
So building skills and knowledge is key to successful innovation, but you also have to pay close attention to the experience your people bring to the table. At Sopra Steria we’re convinced that innovation is everyone’s business, so it must be an inclusive process by design. This means you have to communicate in a transparent, direct way that both encourages participation and facilitates the adoption of new methods and technologies (aka acculturation).
For all of us at Sopra Steria, innovation is part of the learning process that allows us to acquire new skills and know-how — through social learning, for instance — so that we can welcome change and face challenges head-on. Even more importantly, innovation gives us greater confidence to float new ideas or think up exciting new products and solutions, because we understand that getting it wrong is part of the process of getting it right in the end.
Let our experts guide you
Anyone can set up an innovation lab. But not everyone can create a culture that allows innovation to thrive. That’s where our experts come in. They can help with every aspect of your innovation process, including building your team’s skills. They can also make sure you’re focusing your business know-how on the developments that matter in your industry. And finally, they’ll help you capitalize on the wealth of experience your people offer by making sure they’re bang up to date with new methods and technologies.
Read my next post to learn more about managing your innovation lab.