What does an innovation lab mean in business?

An innovation lab is an Internal team focused on incremental and/or adjacent innovation, often with a technology-driven focus. Usually a new offering to existing customers or existing offering for new customers.

What is the purpose of innovation labs?

The objective of an innovation lab is to develop solutions in adjacent space, new products / services for existing customers, new market segments for existing products / services​.

What are innovation lab examples in corporate innovation?

MasterCard Labs is a great example of a firm operating an innovation lab. MC’s objective was to stop competing with other payment processing firms (like Visa or Amex) and start competing with cash. They have successfully moved from being an undifferentiated processor of payments, to a builder of unique technological platforms. They developed a centralized Innovation Lab with strong links to the core business. Mastercard Labs acts as an innovation hub, facilitating an end to end innovation process to ideate, incubate and scale new businesses. They offer programs like Ideabox, LaunchPad, and Innovation Express to engage employees in generating ideas and to support later stage opportunities. They engage externally with Startups, Partners, Customers. This approach created new businesses for Mastercard (e.g., mass transit payments, Qkr!, Kionect, Simplify Commerce ), improved focus on innovation within legacy units, built capabilities – customer discovery, data-led business models, and changed Mastercard’s culture to one focused on customers and open to failures.