INNOVATION: The act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods.
“Innovation” is a broad term. Because of this, every organization defines it in their own unique way. Uncovering how an organization innovates is the real trick. Understanding how an organization innovates will enable relevancy in today's ever-changing market place. With competition everywhere (both internally and externally), organizations and institutions are reinventing themselves to meet the demands of growing customer expectations, an increased speed to market, and the difficulty of attracting and retaining top talent. As a result, organizations are seeking to transform their culture to one that fosters innovative thinking. Innovation centers have become popular among corporations, universities, and municipalities largely out of the demand for the aptitude the space provides. These centers provide a lens for organizations to examine and explore new creative ideas. With that shift in attitude, we must explicitly question assumptions about how we create spaces for this new way of working.
The best way to understand these innovations centers is to realize they are all based on one of three core models:
- Unique spaces for a specific user.
- Inspired by the startup culture.
- Open to changing existing culture to give people innovative freedom.
- A show off space.
INCUBATOR/ ENTREPRENEURIAL CENTER
Most popular of the innovation center models. Two distinct varieties within this model:
- The Co-working labs such as Chicago's 1871 is a popular example with small businesses and entrepreneurs looking for peer networking and resources.
- Universities and municipalities are utilizing the public/private partnership model to advance opportunities for students and local business.
Today's version the shop class.
- Makerspaces are utilizing new manufacturing technologies and bringing an entirely new set of skills into the workplace. It is no longer about how to build a better crafted birdhouse; these spaces are solving new challenges with the aptitude for evolving technologies.
- More and more we are finding hybrid environments combining these traditional models best supports innovation throughout all markets.