Global organizations are creating dedicated innovation centers to disrupt everything from fintech to snack foods.
Innovation hubs are the latest trend for public and private organizations looking to gain a competitive edge in the quest to disrupt their industries. These hubs provide dedicated spaces, where internal teams can work collaboratively with clients and industry start-ups to drive disruption and bring the creative process directly to customers and end users.
Over the past few years, dozens of firms have announced plans to launch hubs in cities around the world from Silicon Valley to Shanghai. These aren’t just R&D centers — these centers have become common destinations for IT teams and cross-functional product development teams to streamline the design process and encourage more creative thinking.
In 2017 Ernst and Young launched “Wavespace” a global network of 15 innovation centers across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. The goal of the hubs is to help clients achieve “radical breakthroughs” in all areas of business transformation, through innovative thinking.
In October, 2018, The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced the launch of its own Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology. FinHub will operate as a portal for the SEC to work with industry partners and public groups to brainstorm innovative applications of blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other leading technologies. "By launching FinHub, we hope to provide a clear path for entrepreneurs, developers, and their advisers to engage with SEC staff, seek input, and test ideas,” said Valerie A. Szczepanik who will lead the hub.
Earlier this month, software giant Infosys announced plans to launch its fifth innovation hub, in Hartford, Connecticut as part of its efforts to “accelerate the pace of digital innovation for American enterprises.” All of the company’s hubs, leverage agile and design thinking methodologies and feature learning labs where project teams partner with clients to identify real world problems, brainstorm solutions, and rapidly experiment to deliver more innovative solutions.
Though these hubs aren’t only focused on driving technology innovations. Global snack food company, Mondelēz International — which owns Oreos, belVita and Cadbury Dairy Milk among other brands — launched its own innovation, called SnackFutures, to capitalize on changing consumer trends in snacking around the world. SnackFutures will bring Mondelēz development teams together with clients and suppliers to invent new snacks, reinvent existing brands, and partner with start-up entrepreneurs to seed new businesses in the world of snacks.
These are just a few of the many organizations using innovation hubs to jumpstart creativity and ensure they are making the right development investments for the future. While their end goals may vary, the process for getting there are all built around the philosophy of design thinking — get closer to customers, brainstorm big ideas, and rapidly iterate on those ideas to deliver better more meaningful results.
As more business leaders see the benefit of these centers, we expect to see innovation hubs that leverage design thinking become a mainstream strategy for companies around the world.
Learn how to enable innovation skill-building at scale here or download our free ebook Kickstart Innovation: A Guide for Organizations.