How do you spark innovation at your organization? Build an environment that generates ideas through design thinking and user experience principles. At Hyland, I wanted to get in front of customers and get their feedback on products to bring it back to development to add value and inspire future vision. I discovered quickly that bring the concepts to them at a place they already were attending, conferences, was a no brainer. However, people are busy at events because they are there to network and learn, so you need to be respectful of their time.
Five years ago, I started the R&D Lab to bring existing software to customers but attendance was lackluster until I showed them something new. I had a mobile concept that was starting development and everyone wanted to see it. I discovered that people at conferences want to see new things because they feel their voice is being heard and it's fun to see something first!
Each year we continued to bring new concepts that evolved into three categories: now, near-future, and future. Last year, R&D Lab was rebranded to Hyland Labs after executive support and it's now turned into something even larger - a company incubator for new ideas. Hyland Labs has generated a buzz because it gives an avenue to connect with customers and share new ideas. It gives participants the opportunity to join as a volunteer to give feedback and provide feedback on ideas that may shape the future vision of the product. If you are thinking of starting a similar program, reach out and I'll provide more details.