What is the Bromford Innovation Lab up to? – An idiot’s guide to being nosey


The Lab isn’t shy when it comes to sharing what we are up to and we wanted to make it as easy as possible for anyone to find out. At the impressive age of 1 we have become (not so) wise in our (not so) old age and found that the more we share with the world, the more feedback and joint learning we get. We actively strive to be transparent as it allows for people to approach us with how they can fit into the ideas pipeline and give their own opinions. And as useful as all that is – and the benefits are great - it can’t be denied that sometimes it’s just nice to be able to be nosey.

Have you ever looked across the office at a team and wondered what do they work on or fill their days with? With your nose to the grindstone it's tricky to keep an ear to the ground as well – that would just be a very odd game of twister and not one most would win at. What a team does doesn’t have to be a secret and in the lab we don't just give you a window – we've knocked down a wall.

That’s where Trello comes in. You may have heard of it before and if you haven’t its nothing to shy away from. We use Trello to show anyone at any time what we are doing. It’s basically an online, public, easy to read list that can be accessed through our website here. You may be thinking why not use a standard document format on a cloud based file store, something like google docs. or dropbox, and allow people access? That kind of format would work but there is always one thing to consider: NO ONE WANTS TO READ A SPREADSHEET!

trello diagram.jpg

Trello is designed to mirror how ideas move through the lab. Each list is a stage in the process with a description of what it means to be at that stage. Underneath the description are the titles of each idea we are working on – the great thing about Trello is it updates in real time so will always be up to speed. You can click on any of the white squares and it will open up to give you more description about what it is and what we have been working on to make it happen. We add due dates and attachments to share what we are doing.

The ideas that are in Pilot aren’t strictly in the lab but sit more with our Insight Team to be thoroughly measured over a long period of time. We show it on here so it’s easy to follow the idea from beginning to end. (If you want to find out more about what the difference between a test and a pilot is click here).

As a lab we know how easy it is to get initiative-itis and run away with an idea on enthusiasm alone. It could be interpreted that what we show on Trello is us jumping up and down to say look at us, but that’s not what it’s for. Trello is there to demonstrate process, structure and methodology. It shares how we unpick and rebuild ideas and provide some justification of why we are looking at it to begin with. We hope to develop it further to include projected financial costs and statistical analysis. As well as further detail into how we conclude whether an idea has passed or failed and what the criteria looks like. Trello itself is a test - to see whether we get engagement through working differently. It is our pipeline and something which we’ve tweaked many times and will continue to do so. It is designed to demonstrate (and hopefully pass on the learning) that there is more to innovation than just initiative-itis.