A recent report noted that 88 innovation labs opened their doors globally between March 2016 and October 2016. The rate at which these labs are opening is not showing any signs of letting up either. For every innovation lab that succeeds in achieving positive outcomes, there are many that suffer an all too different fate, usually amounting to nothing more than glorified meeting rooms.
At Collective Campus, we know what is essential when setting up an innovation lab. Here are four key reasons why innovation labs fail.
It is imperative to develop a clear and compelling vision and objectives prior to establishing an innovation lab.
Bean bags, ping pong tables, huge screens-all great but they don’t make an organisation innovative. Spend less time mimicking startup culture and focus on getting the job done.
An innovation lab is only as good as the team working in it. Hire externally to bring in a new perspective and someone who is not tied down to the current workings of the organisation.
Like anything else in life, if you don’t set targets or KPIs then there is nothing to aim for. Look to assign non-traditional KPIs, for example, the number of experiments run.
Design the physical space, structure and strategy of the innovation lab to increase its eventual effectiveness and return on investment.
Oversee the development of the innovation lab, based on agreed design.
Manage the innovation lab
for a 12 month period, including the facilitating of events and workshops,
running initiatives, marketing and engaging with the startup and social
In 2012, the innovation landscape in Melbourne was a vastly different one to what it is today. There were only a handful of serious startups and even fewer coworking spaces. However, there was an undeniable entrepreneurial energy in the air, and we wanted to be a part of that. Being entrepreneurs ourselves, we identified the need to create an innovation lab. A place for not only startups to work, but also for corporates who wanted to learn and engage with the startup way. Our vision was to create an innovation hub in Melbourne which would become a mainstay with the tech startup community and corporate innovators alike, where both groups come learn each other, share insights, and become each others' customers.
We designed and built a 500m2 Coworking Sspace and Innovation Lab in the heart of Melbourne CBD. By far the hardest aspect of creating a vibrant innovation lab is attracting the right kind of members into the space. Startups can sense when a "community' isn't genuine and corporates want to work with the startups. Through running hundreds of events, meetups, workshops, keynotes and partnerships, we slowly but surely became a valuable long term partner to the startup ecosystem in Melbourne. By trial and error and running hundreds of experiments, we have worked out how to best engage with both the startup and corporate communities.
Collective Campus has been home to more than 50 startups that have collectively raised over $13m USD in 2016/17, 30,000 people have come through our space to work, attend events, connect and learn.