Frankfurt School of Finance & Management's ProcessLab has published a study on “digital innovation” labs in cooperation with the Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg and the German Graduate School of Management & Law Heilbronn. This term refers to spin-offs and separate organisational units of companies that develop and drive digital innovations. These are agile and often small units with up to 30 employees that can react quickly and develop products and services with innovative approaches. The labs try to accompany the complete process from market analysis to implementation – but the study shows that often only selective focal points are set.
Friedrich Holotiuk, Professor Daniel Beimborn and Professor Jürgen Moormann show that Digital Innovation Labs are founded by companies to accelerate a cultural change, improve existing processes and drive digital innovation. A central finding is that digital innovation labs concentrate on a few topics due to their limited resources and build up networks in companies in a targeted manner.
For the survey, the authors of the study conducted around 90 interviews with managers and employees of 19 Digital Innovation Labs from eight industries. Among other things, they asked for information on strategy, structure, working methods, and the speed and effectiveness of development cycles.
"The number of digital innovation labs has increased significantly in recent years. For example, more than half of the labs we surveyed have only been established since 2016. The initial scepticism that existed towards these agile units has in many cases given way and they are earning recognition both within and outside the company to which they are affiliated," said Prof Moormann, Head of the ProcessLab at Frankfurt School. "The particularly successful labs are characterised above all by the fact that they have established stringent processes for handing overdeveloped solutions to the line organisation, for example by involving employees from the line in the lab's project activities at an early stage," added Prof Beimborn, co-head of the ProcessLab and initiator of the study. Companies are recommended to include Digital Innovation Labs in their digitisation strategy and to use their competence and speed to explore new technologies and processes. The current corona crisis shows more than ever that speed in the implementation of digital processes and new solutions can offer a decisive market advantage.
The results of the study are available for download here.