Questions to Ask Before Starting an Innovation Lab

Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

Opening an innovation lab (also known as a business incubator or an R&D hub) can be a good way for your company to develop new products and ideas. But research shows many of these labs don’t deliver on their potential — and the majority fail outright. Before you make such a large investment, ask yourself a few questions.

o First, what’s the vision for the lab? Unless the incubator has a clear, well-defined goal, measuring success will be difficult.

o Second, what happens when an idea born in the lab needs to be developed further? Maybe the project will go back into the core business, or get passed on to an accelerator — it doesn’t necessarily matter as long as everyone knows the process.

o Third, how will you staff the lab? The best R&D hubs have both new talent from outside the company and insiders who know how the firm works. T

That mix of skills and knowledge will help ideas come to life and keep growing beyond the lab’s walls.

This tip is adapted from Why Innovation Labs Fail, and How to Ensure Yours Doesn’t,” by Simone Bhan Ahuja

Here’s a direct link to dozens of other Management Tips.

 

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