Innovation Labs

Monday Buzz: Introducing Innovation Labs

Could your association benefit from an "idea department?" Plus: How to find the perfect writing style guide for your website.

When it comes to risks organizations face in the digital age, stagnation is among the most dangerous. Because the marketplace changes rapidly, innovation is key to survival, regardless of your industry. The real question many associations face isn’t whether to incorporate change, but how to best develop and act upon it.

Enter “innovation labs,” a concept adopted by many organizations and industry leaders to stay relevant amid the growing tide of competition. The idea is to give more focus and freedom to new ideas by separating the creation and implementation process, providing organizations with their own personal think tank.

The concept of a department with the sole purpose of developing and testing new ideas can be somewhat controversial, according to Charles King, an analyst for PUND-IT.

“Innovation labs are regularly knocked because they often don’t have clearly defined links to specific business strategies or goals,” King said in an interview with CIO. “But that’s also the basis of their appeal. In essence, innovation labs create a ‘safe’ space where an organization can explore unconventional, even radical ideas.”

Many industry leaders, including IBM and Lowe’s, have adopted innovation labs and are quite pleased with the results, reported CIO Contributor John Brandon.

“Having a group of folks focused on innovation can be far more effective but only if there is some kind of cross pollination,” analyst Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group told Brandon. “There is a real art in balancing the group’s independence with keeping it connected to the business. Too much connection and you don’t get the innovation, too little and it becomes redundant.”

But by keeping that balance in mind, an innovation lab could be central to solidifying your association’s continued relevance.

Writing Tips of the Day

When it comes to sharing ideas, your content is just as important as your presentation. Social Fish contributor and community-building pro Maddie Grant has a new batch of valuable writing tips, from choosing your tone to referencing your sources to ensuring your website will properly represent your organization.

Other Good Reads

Is sleep an “all or nothing” endeavor? Fast Company Contributor Jill Duffy explores a new study on the proper amount of sleep that could help make your workdays a lot less sleepy.

What really enables your productivity? New York Times Magazine reporter Susan Dominus explains why flexibility is key to productivity.

The pros and cons of standing desks: As offices become more health conscious, organizations are looking into the risks and benefits of one of the most popular trends.


Eli Zimmerman

By Eli Zimmerman

Eli is studying Journalism at the University of Maryland. When not studying, he likes to relax with a nice book or a couple rounds at the local boxing gym. MORE

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