Today we've been to our Executive Board to report on lessons learned from the early months of Bromford Lab.
The first challenge of any Lab is to get internal colleagues to accept it. On this we can report success, far from being defensive, our colleagues have used sessions to critically examine their service areas. They've been open about failings and honest in identifying areas where we are coming up short.
Also - they are pitching ideas. We've had 37 concepts in the Lab so far and people are not being slow in coming forward - it's very bottom-up. This is important as we began with a top down approach to innovation but we now have a very healthy mix of the two.
The other success is that internal barriers and silos - often perceived rather than actual - are being eroded. Any Lab session can contain people from 4 or 5 different parts of the organisation - as well as customers.
Of course there are areas where we need to improve as well.
We've identified that some concepts are not progressing fast enough. We have adopted a much more agile approach to pushing these forward and have agreed to kill off ones that do not seen to be moving. After all , if people are losing interest in an idea it's probably never going to make a great product.
We feel we've been so tied up with getting the Lab working internally we've neglected our wider network. Getting this site up and running is a move in the right direction but we've recognised that 2015 has to see a focus on external and customer contributors.
Finally we are aware of the need to manage expectations from customers and colleagues of how quickly we enter something in the Lab. Often there is a need for more detailed problem definition before we go off creating things. Ultimately a Lab is a waste of time if it produces lots of things that don't solve the right problems.
Exciting times. We'll be following up on the next steps for Bromford Lab in a future post.