The term ‘corporate innovation’ can be a murky one for many in the startup space, some who may have left the corporate world to launch or work in a startup that aims to disrupt the established players.
While it is true that more than one corporate has done little beyond slap the label ‘Innovation Lab’ on a room in a bid to boast its innovation chops, others have been working hard to invest in innovation, not out of fear of being disrupted, but out of a desire to themselves keep up with – and ahead of – customer expectations and bring to life new concepts.
One such company is Lend Lease, the Australian developer behind projects including the Adelaide Oval, Melbourne Quarter, and the Barangaroo Precinct in Sydney.
According to Michael Vavakis, the chief people officer at Lend Lease, what drives each of the company’s projects forward is the focus on innovation that has been deeply entrenched within the company since it was founded in 1951.
For Lend Lease, innovation is centered around solving a need, whether it be an internal need or that of the customer, which is focused on experiences.
“We’re in the business of creating great places, and when we create great places, that means the experience people have, whether they’re at work, at home, at a concert, or anywhere, is hopefully one that connects them and is a really positive one,” Vavakis explained.
“When you think about that and think about innovation, there are so many opportunities around how you can innovate to create great places for people, and that’s what we try to do every day.”
For Vavakis, key to this innovation at Lend Lease is encouraging of diversity of thought around how to solve a problem.
In looking to help facilitate this, the company has established an Innovation Lab at its headquarters at the Barangaroo precinct.
The company spent some time toying around with the idea of whether it even wanted a lab or not, Vavakis said, but now it is “more than just a token space”.
“It’s really where we get people to come in and ideate, and to think differently about problems and solutions. It’s also a place where we hold leadership meetings because we think it’s a great place for people to be creative,” Vavakis said.
“But more than anything else, it’s a sign to everyone who works at Lend Lease that innovation is important, and that you can come in here, use the space, get innovative about different problems that are coming up and really think differently about how to solve things. It’s more than just a space for us; it’s what we’re trying to do in terms of shaping the culture.”
Startup Daily had a look around Lend Lease’s Innovation Lab – check it out: