Innovation is critical for established companies to stay relevant in the face of disruption. Here's our list of corporate innovation labs.
Corporate innovation is critical for established companies looking to stay relevant in the face of disruption from up-and-coming startups. With industries being unbundled left and right (supermarkets, banking, cars — just to name a few), more companies are opening up in-house innovation labs every day.
These innovative entities allow established companies to not only respond to disruption stemming from new actors, but also from global events such as Covid-19. While the pandemic has caused some companies to close up shop or halt innovation efforts — 28% of chief executives delayed or canceled investment in innovation, according to Rainmaking — others have moved in a different direction.
Ikea’s SPACE10 innovation lab, for example, revamped its augmented reality (AR) offering to create Ikea Studio amid the pandemic, which it hopes will eventually allow customers to design entire rooms from their phones. Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson Innovation collaborated with multiple partners, including the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in order to develop its one-shot Covid-19 vaccine, which it has made available to the public on a not-for-profit basis.
Sometimes corporate innovation goes wrong, and we’ve written about corporate innovation theater before, but when it goes right, it can be incredibly transformative. Below, we’ve put together a list of innovation labs, both newly formed and well established, working to turn new ideas into new opportunities at long-lived companies.
This post is broken up into sections. Click on a vertical to jump to it.
- Retail/Consumer Goods
1. HP Inc. (formerly Hewlett-Packard)
Innovation Lab Name: HP Labs
HP Labs is a research facility that focuses on technologies like 3D printing, microfluidics and imaging, endpoint security, and digital manufacturing.
Innovation Lab Name: X
Created in 2010 to work on “moonshots” — or long-shot technologies that “aim to make the world a radically better place” — Google X became X in 2015, a separate division within Alphabet, the parent company of Google. X is the innovation lab where some of Alphabet’s biggest projects happen, such as graduated projects Google Glass and self-driving car company Waymo.
Innovation Lab Name: Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)
The PARC’s professed philosophy is “open innovation.” Founded in 1970, PARC has worked on world-changing innovations like Ethernet, laser printing, and GUIs.
PARC was established as an independent “Xerox company” in 2002. It currently focuses on areas it believes are “the future of technology,” including AI and human-machine collaboration, novel printing, microsystems & smart devices, and IOT & machine intelligence.
Innovation Lab Name: Microsoft Research Lab
Microsoft has numerous labs, each with its own focus, aimed at applying research independent of product development cycles. Projects include accelerating large-scale model inference and training, refining accessibility to build more inclusive technologies, and more.
In 2020, researchers at the lab created Turing Natural Language Generation, “the largest publicly known language model at 17B parameters.” The project relied on DeepSpeed, an open-source library also developed by Microsoft Research that optimizes the training of deep learning models.
Innovation Lab Name: TCS Innovation Labs
TCS’ wide-spanning network of technology, domain, and academic alliance labs lets IT experts of all stripes create new systems. Research areas range from deep learning & AI to media, entertainment, & advertising.
Innovation Lab Name: Oracle Labs
Originally founded as Sun Microsystems Laboratories in 1990, it was rebranded Oracle Labs after Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems in 2010. The labs’ experts use 4 research approaches: exploratory research, directed research, consulting, and product incubation. Chip multithreading and the Java programming language both grew out of Oracle Labs research.
Innovation Lab Name: IBM Research
IBM Research was the first US corporate laboratory focused solely on scientific research. Today, there are 12 labs with a total of 3,000 scientists working to produce disruptive technologies. This lab conducts its own projects, such as Project Debater, “the first AI system that can debate humans on complex topics.” And it participates in joint endeavors as well — IBM Research recently teamed up with the Michael J. Fox foundation to apply AI to pinpoint symptom progression for Parkinson’s disease.
Innovation Lab Name: Philips Design
Design is at the core of many high-tech companies and innovation labs alike. Philips Design focuses on new ideas and new technologies to improve the lives of its customers. This lab gives its innovators, who come from a wide array of disciplines, the freedom to explore and find new solutions. These solutions have garnered them Red Dot Awards, Webbies, Singapore Good Design Marks, and more.
Innovation Lab Name: Lab126
Founded in 2004, Amazon’s Lab126 is responsible for innovations like the Kindle, Fire, and Echo. In expanding from its humble, skunkworks-style origins in Palo Alto to its current offices in cities like Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Seattle, and Boston, it’s scaled up to attack new projects while keeping the same focus on experimentation and innovation that helped it build the first Kindle.
Innovation Lab Name: Cisco Global Co-Innovation Centers
Cisco’s Global Co-Innovation Centers work with both regional and global partners to create new technology solutions that solve business and social challenges while having a positive global impact.
These centers are located in cities across the globe — from Barcelona to Milan to Perth — and each maintains its own research focus. For example, its Perth-based center aims “to advance digital transformation through an open innovation ecosystem.” It recently launched “Cronus Australia: Precision Pastoralism,” a project dedicated to using advanced technologies to transform the production of cattle in Northern Australia.
Innovation Lab Name: NortonLifeLock Research Group
Known as Symantec Research Labs until 2019, NRG focuses on innovation in cybersecurity technology, with current active research areas including privacy, secure systems, risk measurement, AI, and more. The group produced some of the earliest behavioral protection technologies. Other projects include the exploration and commercialization of new technologies like targeted attack protection, reputation-based security, rootkit protection, and cloud-based security.
Innovation Lab Name: SAP Co-Innovation Lab (COIL)
The SAP Co-Innovation Lab (COIL) is made up of a network of SAP product and innovation labs in 16 locations around the globe. COIL’s project portfolio focuses on IoT and machine learning, but it also includes areas like cybersecurity, mobility, and big data analytics, among others.
13. Dell EMC
Innovation Lab Name: HPC & AI Innovation Lab
The goal of Dell EMC’s High Performance Computing (HPC) & AI Innovation Lab is to provide companies with the expertise and technology to quickly transform the data they have at their disposal into actionable insights. The 13,000-square-foot facility houses its Zenith supercomputer, which contains over 27,000 cores, allowing it to process massive amounts of data at a rapid pace.
For example, the lab has worked with Caterpillar to provide the performance computing systems necessary to support the construction equipment manufacturer’s autonomous mining program.
Innovation Lab Name: AT&T Labs Research
AT&T Labs focuses on topics such as AI, 5G, SDN (software-defined networking), network and consumer experience, and video and media analytics. In 2017, the lab announced its partnership with India-based IT company Tech Mahindra to launch Acumos, an open-source AI platform hosted by the Linux Foundation.
Innovation Lab Name: AT&T Foundry
Since 2011, AT&T has also operated foundry labs in a variety of locations across the globe: Atlanta, Houston, Mexico City, Palo Alto, Plano, and Ra’anana, Israel. Lab focuses include 5G, edge computing, cybersecurity, connected healthcare, and IoT solutions.
Innovation Lab Name: Verizon 5G Labs
Verizon’s “next generation innovation centers” bring together innovators and entrepreneurs to research 5G technology. At the labs, experts can collaborate on new 5G concepts and trial them on Verizon’s 5G network. The labs are located across the US and Europe in New York City, Washington DC, Boston, Los Angeles, London, and San Francisco.
Innovation Lab Name: Nokia Bell Labs
Founded: 1925 (under AT&T)
Nokia’s innovation lab was founded in 1925 under AT&T. Its researchers have worked on inventions like lasers, the C programming language, UNIX, speech recognition, and more. It boasts awards including Nobel Prizes, US National Medals of Science, Turing Awards, Kyoto Prizes, and many others.
Innovation Lab Name: Vodafone Innovation Park Labs
Vodafone’s labs are focused on creating the next generation of telecommunications breakthroughs. Its experts perform up to 1,000 test projects every year with over 100 suppliers; for example, they quality-test DSL routers and IoT sensors. Lab focus areas include mobile communications, video and broadcast, and fixed or cable networks.
Innovation Lab Name: Telekom Innovation Laboratories (T-Labs)
The experts at T-Labs focus on 4 fields: blockchain, AI, user experience, and academia-as-a-service. The R&D unit of Deutsche Telekom (the parent company of T-Mobile) and a close partner of Technische Universität Berlin, T-Labs was created to work collaboratively with universities, startups, corporate innovation hubs, and others to jointly research the future of communication services.
Innovation Lab Name: Wireless X Labs
Huawei’s Wireless X Labs focus on developing new applications for the wireless communications industry. Wireless X is made up of 3 laboratories that focus on technology for consumers, the home, and vertical industries. It also includes 1 joint innovation center that collaborates with industry partners.
Innovation Lab Name: Visa Innovation Centers
Visa’s Innovation Centers focus on technologies in areas like payments, commerce, and design. The centers are located in San Francisco, Dubai, Singapore, Miami, and London, and feature collaborative spaces to prototype ideas with clients as well as experience galleries to showcase new solutions.
Innovation Lab Name: Fidelity Labs
Fidelity’s in-house innovation lab focuses on customer needs and advanced technologies to create new solutions that can range from incremental upgrades to product overhauls.
22. JPMorgan Chase
Innovation Lab Name: Financial Solutions Lab
Founded by JPMorgan, the Financial Solutions Lab is a $60M, 10-year program managed by the Financial Health Network and supported by Prudential Financial. The lab was designed to spur innovations that help support low- to moderate-income individuals save more and improve their credit. Teams work in collaborative groups to develop new financial apps and tools.
Innovation Lab Name: D10X
Housed under Citi’s venture capital arm, D10X focuses on internal innovation and supporting entrepreneurship within the bank. Its Entrepreneurs in Residence program aims to help bank employees identify client needs and develop competitive solutions in response.
24. Capital One
Innovation Lab Name: The Capital One Lab
Capital One Labs aims to develop innovative products and engineering solutions that benefit Capital One and its customers. Projects include creating better infrastructure for machine learning, enhancing the fraud detection process, and redesigning the credit card.
25. Deutsche Bank
Innovation Lab Name: Deutsche Bank Innovation Network
Deutsche Bank has innovation labs in New York, Silicon Valley, London, Frankfurt, Singapore, and Berlin. The Innovation Network connects technology startups with the bank’s internal teams, enabling them to adopt products and solutions to better serve its clients and employees. The Network aims to help Deutsche Bank evaluate and adopt emerging technologies, develop a culture of innovation, and contribute to the bank’s digital strategy.
Innovation Lab Name: Mastercard Foundry
Mastercard’s Foundry teams focus on “accelerating the future of commerce through experience and innovation.” They evaluate emerging tech trends such as AI and quantum computing and look to scale them into new products and services. The Foundry offers experience centers — where customers can try out Mastercard products in immersive environments — as well as labs-as-a-service, through which it partners with clients to create tailored commerce experiences.
Innovation Lab Name: FinLabs
Synechron’s 13 Financial Innovation Labs (FinLabs) are located across the world in countries like India, Serbia, the Netherlands, and the US. The labs aim to act as innovation hubs for banking customers to collaborate and foster new ideas in interactive spaces. FinLab users have access to digital specialists, R&D experts, and accelerator programs. The labs specifically focus on technology solutions in blockchain, AI, insurtech, and regtech.
28. Goldman Sachs
Innovation Lab Name: GS Accelerate
GS Accelerate is Goldman Sachs’ in-house incubator, which supports startups run by Goldman employees. Teams pitch their ideas and are given time to put together a business plan — if theirs is selected, they are granted 2 years of paid leave to develop their startup. This allows the investment bank to enhance the products and services that it offers and also retain top talent.
Innovation Lab Name: KOLab Collaboration Center
Coca-Cola creates new food & beverage innovations at its Atlanta headquarters, but uses its recently unveiled KOlab facility to collaborate with retail and restaurant customers to innovate new ways of growing their businesses. For example, customers can use a “digital immersion room” to demo customer shopping experiences using VR.
Innovation Lab Name: Design & Innovation
PepsiCo’s New York City Design & Innovation center looks at “alchemists, mixologists, nutritionists, trend hunters, futurists, technologists, culinary artists and all kinds of cultural influencers” as potential partners and collaborators in innovation. With a heavy focus on design, the brand seeks to reach more people and make its products more accessible around the world. Notable projects include Pepsi Spire, a smart beverage dispenser that features up to 1,000 drink combinations.
Innovation Lab Name: The Accelerator
The Nestlé R+D Accelerator offers a program designed to help participating teams accelerate the development of innovative food and beverage solutions. It provides startups, students, graduates, and Nestlé employees with the expertise, coaching, R&D infrastructure, and funding they need to move from “idea to shop” in 6 months. Those that wish to participate can either apply to one of the open challenges — designed to solve specific industry and business problems — or join an existing venture.
32. General Mills
Innovation Lab Name: General Mills Worldwide Innovation Network (G-WIN)
G-WIN was created to use both internal and external channels to find startups, partners, and even consumers that can help the company expand its product lines and market shares. It looks primarily for solutions in a areas of interest like packaging, processing, sustainability, and health. G-WIN also occasionally posts innovation challenges to address specific needs within the company.
Innovation Lab Name: SPACE10
Located in downtown Copenhagen is SPACE10, Ikea’s research and design lab. SPACE10 invites people from the worlds of art, design, and technology to work on research projects that result in a range of Ikea prototypes, exhibitions, events, and workshops. In doing so, the lab hopes to further its mission to “democratise design and production practices.” Recent projects include an open-source design for bee homes and a series of experiments geared toward making tech devices used in the home more secure and trustworthy.
34. The Home Depot
Innovation Lab Name: The Home Depot Innovation Center
Experts at The Home Depot’s Innovation Center on Georgia Tech’s campus collaborate with the university’s talent to explore how technology might shape retail, supply chains, and more. The second focus for the center is to track emerging technologies like 3D printing, virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), and wearable devices.
Innovation Lab Name: Lululemon Lab
Imagined as a “design concept store,” Lululemon Lab is “a space for experimentation in focused collections.” Design teams in Vancouver and New York City work collaboratively in settings that encourage forward thinking and creativity to produce limited-quantity collections.
Innovation Lab Name: Walmart Global Tech
Walmart’s innovation lab is designed to help the company stay competitive in the increasingly digital and mobile world. Teams focus on innovations that will make the Walmart shopping experience more seamless, both online and in store. After launching Mobile Express Returns, where in-store purchased items could be returned online and then dropped off in person using a QR code, in-store return transaction times dropped 74%.
Innovation Lab Name: Sephora Innovation Lab
Sephora’s innovation lab is located in San Francisco’s Mission Bay district. The facility’s first use was to build and test in-store displays, but its focus has since expanded to include digital solutions, reflecting the increasingly online nature of any kind of shopping experience. Innovations include Sephora Virtual Artist, a mobile offering that lets shoppers virtually try on makeup using AR, and Color IQ, shade-matching technology used in stores to match customers’ skin tone with makeup shades.
Innovation Lab Name: Kohl’s Digital Center
Kohl’s Digital Center focuses on emerging technologies to improve the customer experience — for example, it developed the Kohl’s Pay app in order to help customers pay for and pick up in-store deliveries faster.
Innovation Lab Name: Kohl’s Innovation Center
The Innovation Center is located on Kohl’s Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin corporate campus. The center was created to encourage collaboration between the company’s IT, planning, construction, and purchasing teams. The Innovation Center has a number of green features, including solar trees, EV charging stations, LED lighting, and waste-reduction efforts.
Innovation Lab Name: Lowe’s Innovation Lab
Lowe’s Innovation Labs focuses on emerging technologies that could “advance home improvement retail.” Its 3 teams develop, test, prototype, and scale projects in research areas that include robotics and on-demand manufacturing. They also developed the Holoroom, a VR headset that helps shoppers visualize bathroom and kitchen improvements.
Innovation Lab Name: Tesco Labs
Tesco’s in-house tech innovation team dreams up, develops, and tests an array of solutions for things like online search. The team also developed “Talk to Tesco” — a Google Assistant integration that allows customers to use any Google Assistant-enabled device to manage their online shopping by using voice commands. One notable “startup” trait: they even hold hackathons.
Innovation Lab Name: DuPont Innovation Centers
DuPont has numerous innovation centers across the globe that, together, form a network of over 2500 scientists and engineers. Its Silicon Valley center explores applications in consumer electronics, autonomous vehicles, 5G tech, and more. DuPont customers work with these in-house experts to explore innovations and develop solutions for the challenges they face.
Innovation Lab Name: Innovation Kitchen
When Nike comes up with a new shoe or piece of technology, it’s figuratively cooked up in the company’s Innovation Kitchen. The Kitchen’s team explores everything from barefoot shoes to activity trackers and more, in an open space conducive to free thinking, experimentation, and self-expression.
Innovation Lab Name: S23NYC Studio
Nike launched the SNKRS app in 2015 in order to gather behavioral signals that it could use to develop and release products in line with customer wants and needs. Nike experienced great success with the app and opened its S23NYC Studio in 2019 as a space dedicated to further evolving the app’s features and functionalities. Located in New York City’s South Street Seaport, the facility houses over 100 employees looking to make the app more predictive and provide Nike customers with increasingly customized product offerings.
Innovation Lab Name: Unilever Foundry
Unilever Foundry has led 200 pilots and profiled more than 10,000 startups in its effort to “accelerate innovation on a global scale.” Its focus areas include wellness, personalization, digital engagement, sustainability, supply chain, and enterprise tech. At its Innovation Hubs in Singapore and Dublin, startups, Unilever brands, and corporate partners collaborate and innovate in a coworking environment.
Innovation Lab Name: Open Innovation
L’Oréal has partnered with Station F, Founders Factory, and Partech Ventures to “create a new generation of innovative beauty products, devices, and digital services.” The Open Innovation project looks to partner with sources from both inside and outside the company. The startups selected go through an onboarding process, receive mentoring, and build connections with L’Oréal brands.
45. Procter & Gamble
Innovation Lab Name: Connect + Develop
P&G’s Connect + Develop program advertises the problems it needs help solving across business lines from supply chain to product. P&G uses this call for ideas to attract the “world’s most innovative minds” in order to “deliver on the company’s most challenging opportunities.” Its internal team works with the partners it attracts to innovate ways of improving the lives of its customers.
46. Lockheed Martin
Innovation Lab Name: Skunk Works
While the term “skunk works” has come to refer to any secretive research facility or department, the originator of the term was Lockheed Martin’s R&D team at its Burbank, California facility. The team is said to have designed the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star in just 143 days, in a contained setup away from other engineers. Development of the fighter actually began 4 months before formal contracts were delivered, a hallmark of the division’s “off the books” methodology. Over 75 years later, teams are still working to produce next-gen aircraft innovations that adhere to founder Kelly Johnson’s mantra of “quick, quiet, and quality.”
Innovation Lab Name: Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab (VAIL)
The Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab (VAIL) brings together interdisciplinary teams to work on industry-changing projects. Located on the Stanford University campus, it partners with the school on projects like drive-by-wire and driver assistance systems, the Stanford Solar Car Project, and more.
Innovation Lab Name: Ford Greenfield Labs
Ford’s innovation lab in Palo Alto, California is home to a team of more than 300 researchers, scientists, engineers, and designers. The 182,000-square-foot facility boasts open spaces to encourage collaboration as the team works on projects across areas like urban mobility and electric vehicles.
Innovation Lab Name: 1886Ventures
1886Ventures grew out of its in-house predecessor (Lab 1886) and operates independently of, albeit closely with, its parent company Daimler. This setup allows for new business opportunities outside of its core business to be identified and incubated until they become mature enough to roll out to global markets. Areas of focus include green energy, automated trucks, AI-driven vehicle scanning, vehicle subscriptions, ridesharing, vehicle connectivity, and circular economy.
Innovation Lab Name: Various (learn more)
The Volvo Group operates a number of initiatives, including CampX, Innovation Lab, and iLabX — and it fosters innovation through partnership initiatives as well, such as MobilityXlab. Each of these entities provides both internal and external partners, as well as select startups, with opportunities to develop ideas across 3 primary areas: connectivity, electrification, and automation. Innovation Lab researchers are looking to apply big data to the automotive and transportation industries, and MobilityXlab allows startups to connect with at least 2 of Volvo’s partner companies so that they can accelerate together.
Innovation Lab Name: Digital Innovation Lab
The CVS innovation center is focused on creating new digital health solutions. Operating like a startup and adhering to concepts like an accelerated idea-to-market schedule and a fast-paced testing and implementation process, its projects range from simple things like mobile phone pharmacy reminders to complex ones like apps that turn those phones into “remote diagnostic tools.”
52. Mayo Clinic
Innovation Lab Name: Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery
The Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery is embedded within the Mayo Clinic’s practice and encourages its Innovation and Design team to think differently about healthcare. The team brings together design principles with the scientific method to uncover needs in the healthcare environment and develops scalable models in order to address those needs.
The center touts a number of successful innovations, including a pregnancy care model that allows low-risk patients to interact with their care teams from home. Notably, this model was developed in partnership with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, exemplifying the collaborative nature of the center’s operations.
53. VSP Global
Innovation Lab Name: VSP Global Innovation Center
Based in Sacramento, CA, with a global interdisciplinary team, the VSP Global Innovation Center aims to encourage collaboration between VSP Global and outside partners to discover, evaluate, and integrate new products, services, and experiences for the organization’s network of 90M members and tens of thousands of eyecare professionals.
The center focuses its initiatives in 4 areas related to VSP Global’s vision care and eyewear operations: digital supply chain, health-focused vision care, personalized vision products, and smart glasses.
54. Cardinal Health
Innovation Lab Name: Fuse
Cardinal’s Fuse innovation center is focused on identifying and solving complex healthcare problems. Working at the intersection of “emerging technology and healthcare disruption,” its experts aim to streamline data sharing and communication processes, enhance healthcare delivery systems, remove barriers to treatments, and develop integrated wellness systems.
55. Johnson & Johnson
Innovation Lab Name: Johnson & Johnson Innovation Centers
Johnson & Johnson operates 4 innovation centers. Located in “the world’s top life science hubs” of San Francisco, Boston, London, and Shanghai, the centers’ teams are positioned to collaborate with scientists and entrepreneurs working on pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and consumer healthcare products in these regions.
Company-wide, Johnson & Johnson Innovation is a network that combines in-house R&D efforts, partnerships with innovative startups, innovation hubs and incubators around the world, and strategic investments through its venture arm (JJDC).
56. LEO Pharma
Innovation Lab Name: LEO Innovation Lab
Established by Denmark-based LEO Pharma and owned by the LEO Foundation, the LEO Innovation Lab focuses on improving the lives of people with chronic skin conditions using digital solutions.
Innovation Lab Name: BioVentureHub
The BioVentureHub is embedded in AstraZeneca’s Gothenburg location. Its goal is to “strengthen competitiveness and dynamism in the life science industry.” In the Hub, biotech startups and academic groups can work with AstraZeneca’s employees and also access the company’s lab equipment and supplies.
Innovation Lab Name: Lilly Cambridge Innovation Center
The center’s goal is to “explore how emerging technologies and connectivity can advance drug delivery and device innovation to improve patient health.” Inside the center, employees can work in both a drug formulation lab as well as a machine shop to help find solutions for improving things like pill packs. Lilly works with a handful of outside collaborators as well.
Innovation Lab Name: IPG Media Lab
IPG’s Media Lab “identifies and researches innovations and trends that will change the media landscape.” Its team of marketers, engineers, and creatives work directly with clients and industry partners to help them adapt to the changing media environment.
60. The New York Times
Innovation Lab Name: Research & Development
The New York Times Research & Development group aims to create new products using emerging technologies that will change how people interact with media. Projects include applying computer vision during sporting events to understand athlete performance, using 5G to transmit photos in real time, and implementing blockchain technology to store publisher metadata in news photos.
Innovation Lab Name: Comcast Labs
Comcast Labs has development centers in Silicon Valley, Seattle, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Denver, where “virtual teams” collaborate with each other and tech companies to transform existing services and create new technologies. The Comcast Labs team includes innovators in web development, communications, and a variety of other disciplines. Products and features developed at Comcast Labs include the Xfinity TV Go for Apple and Android-powered devices, CloudTV, and Xfinity Internet’s PowerBoost.
62. The Walt Disney Studios
Innovation Lab Name: StudioLab
Disney’s StudioLab is a creative space meant to enhance collaboration among filmmakers from Disney’s film studios like Pixar Animation and Lucasfilms. With partners like Accenture Interactive, Cisco, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the lab aims to help filmmakers to explore and experience new technologies like virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), and mixed reality experiences.
Innovation Lab Name: WarnerMedia Innovation Lab
In 2019, WarnerMedia Innovation Lab announced its impending launch and expressed its aim to “generate experiences for the public deliverable through any or all of WarnerMedia’s content and consumer touchpoints, as well as the network and distribution offerings that AT&T provides.” The lab is focused on deepening the collaboration between AT&T and WarnerMedia, bringing together AT&T’s technical expertise and Warner’s creatives to create content for a changing media landscape.
Innovation Lab Name: Accenture Innovation Centers
Accenture works with companies across 40+ industries — including banking, health, retail, software, and more — to improve customer experiences using digital technologies. Its Innovation Architecture is made up of 6 branches: Accenture Research, Accenture Ventures, Accenture Labs, Accenture Studios, Accenture Innovation Centers, and Accenture Delivery Centers. It has innovation hubs in multiple locations around the world including Zurich, Tokyo, Bengaluru, and New York.
Innovation Lab Name: Deloitte InsightStudio
The Deloitte InsightStudio adheres to a design thinking approach and leverages analytics technology to solve specific industry problems. A “rapid incubator,” Deloitte’s InsightStudio lab allows clients to present their unique challenges to highly efficient teams that quickly address them through the provision of pre-built and customized prototypes, managed services, and on-premise solutions.
Innovation Lab Name: Digital Labs
McKinsey Digital Labs uses digital tools and “user-centric design thinking” to deliver products, experiences, and systems for its clients based on their specific needs. Its teams of engineers, designers, data scientists, software specialists, and other experts help scale up clients’ digital capabilities.
67. Boston Consulting Group
Innovation Lab Name: BCG Innovation Center for Operations
The Innovation Center for Operations (ICO) has model factories in France, Germany, Singapore, Ireland, Brazil, China, and the US that are focused on helping clients adopt and leverage Industry 4.0 technologies — i.e., advanced manufacturing technologies that capture, optimize, and deploy data. Projects have included creating a strategy for an industrial goods manufacturer’s entry into the 3D printing market and helping a company develop a plan for building a lighthouse plant.
68. Booz Allen Hamilton
Innovation Lab Name: The Booz Allen Innovation Center
The Booz Allen Innovation Center’s project teams in Washington DC collaborate on innovative solutions for its clients in a space designed for experimentation. The center also runs a network of “iHubs” around the US — spaces where investors, entrepreneurs, and other community members can connect with Booz Allen’s experts.
69. Ernst & Young
Innovation Lab Name: wavespace
EY operates a network of 26 flagship wavespace centers and 21 satellite centers. The centers focus on digital capabilities like IoT, AI, blockchain, and data analytics, where specialist teams work with clients to help them adopt technology and scale their innovation programs.
Innovation Lab Name: Innovation Lab
Teams at KPMG’s Innovation Lab help clients identify innovation opportunities. Capabilities range from helping redesign business models to connecting corporations with startups to assessing investment opportunities.
Innovation Lab Name: Emerging Tech Lab
PwC’s Emerging Tech Lab aims to help clients put together a forward-thinking corporate strategy that accounts for the advancement of 8 key technologies: artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), blockchain, drones, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, 3D printing, and virtual reality (VR).
In addition to providing strategic support, the lab’s technologists and industry specialists work with clients to put strategy into motion through the development of prototypes and provision of data analytics solutions & services.
Innovation Lab Name: Anthem Innovation Studio
Since its launch in May 2016, the experts at the Anthem Innovation Studio in Atlanta have been working on a variety of projects that focus on enriching the consumer experience, managing the cost of care, and enhancing provider collaboration.
Innovation Lab Name: AXA Next
AXA Next houses 8 units — including Kamet, AXA Venture Partners, AXA Labs, AXA Partners, and AXA Global Parametrics — and aims to “go beyond our traditional role as insurer and become a true partner of our clients in their daily lives.”
When it initially launched in 2019, the organization stated that health, platform economy, business continuity for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and mobility would be its 4 key focus areas. However, it reevaluated its mandate in 2020 amid the pandemic and now prioritizes 2 innovation fields: health & protection and property & casualty.
74. Swiss Re
Innovation Lab Name: Swiss Re Institute
The Swiss Re Institute aims to work with internal experts and external partners to develop and publish industry-relevant risk research that drives (re)insurance innovation. According to the company’s vision, “Swiss Re is dedicated to making the world more resilient, working with the market, policy makers and partners to reach the underinsured.”
Innovation Lab Name: Digital Garage
Aviva’s Toronto-based Digital Garage aims to “develop leading-edge digital solutions designed to bring new possibilities to the insurance industry.” The Digital Garage hosts events like employee hackathons and pitch days to encourage collaboration among its employees and other brokers and businesses in Canada.
Innovation Lab Name: Innovation Foundry
Launched in February 2018, Zurich’s UK Innovation Foundry focuses on partnerships rather than acquisitions to develop insurance solutions. The Foundry works on a range of initiatives, from process improvements to new products.
Innovation Lab Name: Innovation Lab and Outpost
Since 2017, Wawanesa has opened two innovation labs in Canada. The goal is to “foster partnerships with key players…working collaboratively to be at the forefront in implementing the digital innovations that are changing the insurance industry….”
The partnerships run the gamut from startups to brokers, government agencies, and tech incubators. Wawanesa is focused on bringing new products and ideas to market in order to serve its customers’ digital needs.
78. Northwestern Mutual
Innovation Lab Name: Cream City Labs
Located on Northwestern Mutual’s downtown Milwaukee campus, Cream City Labs is a 17,000-square-foot space where employees can collaborate with each other and the startup community to engage in innovative thinking and explore new opportunities. Current projects range from the development of a financial wellness score to building live collaboration technologies.
79. State Farm
Innovation Lab Name: RED Labs
The goal of State Farm’s RED Labs is to “figure out new ways to engage with customers.” Employees are focused on finding ways to capitalize on emerging technologies, such as VR, AI, and cloud-based computing, and fold them into their mobile applications, smart home systems, and planning tools. Scouting managers help to identify startups whose products could potentially serve to enhance these developments efforts.
80. Southern Company
Innovation Lab Name: Southern Company Energy Innovation Center
Southern Company has prioritized a commitment to innovation throughout its corporate history. At its Energy Innovation Center in Atlanta’s Technology Square, employees and partners collaborate to address issues related to energy production, delivery, and use.
81. Georgia Pacific
Innovation Lab Name: GP Innovation Institute
Researchers at Georgia Pacific’s Innovation Institute are working to “reduce supply chain costs, increase shelf velocity, and drive sustainability improvements.” Services that they provide include those geared toward supply chain optimization, e-commerce enhancement, as well as the evaluation and testing of packaging effectiveness.
Innovation Lab Name: thyssenkrupp Elevator Research
thyssenkrupp Elevator operates research innovation centers around the world. Its latest center, the Innovation and Qualification Center, opened in Atlanta in 2019. The center will feature a 420-foot-tall elevator test tower — the tallest elevator test tower in the Western Hemisphere. It is used to trial and test new elevator concepts and technologies, such as high-speed elevators and thyssenkrupp’s TWIN system, which features 2 cabins in 1 shaft.
Innovation Lab Name: The Helix Innovation Center
At its 40,000-square-foot facility on the University of Dayton campus, Emerson researchers engineer commercial building controls and HVAC technology. The center contains a total of 5 real-world simulated environments, including a fully functioning and furnished home, a model supermarket, a light commercial environment, a commercial kitchen, and a data center. These modules provide a sandbox for rapid prototyping and practical applications.
Innovation Lab Name: CAT Data Innovation Lab
CAT Data Innovation Lab is located at the University of Illinois Research Park. Students work on data-driven projects to solve real problems that Caterpillar faces. All projects must be large enough to become their own businesses, unlikely to be addressed by the company in the near future, and require new analytical capability, among other requirements. One past project included using neural networks and predictive analytics to forecast demand for infrequently used parts, and another involved creating an application to help Caterpillar dealers identify and replace non-CAT parts using image recognition technology.
85. Duke Energy
Innovation Lab Name: Innovation Center
At Optimist Hall in Charlotte, North Carolina, more than 300 employees — including software engineers, designers, and data scientists — work to create new products for customers in 2-week sprints. The lab is divided into 4 spaces: The Loft, where employees explore new ideas; The Garage, where prototypes are developed; The Factory, where production happens; and The Exchange, where customers can discover what teams are working on.
Innovation Lab Name: ENGIE Fab
ENGIE Fab brings together ENGIE’s internal innovation team with its venture arm and accelerator. The innovation team leads the group’s internal and external innovation platforms. The team solicits ideas from employees on topics that range from renewable energy solutions to alternative mobility. Experts from within the company then determine whether to launch the project and assemble a team to run with it.
Innovation Lab Name: Innovation Hub&Lab
Enel’s global network of innovation hubs and labs collaborate with startups to “transform ideas into business solutions.” The hubs identify problems facing Enel, and solutions are developed and tested at the labs. At the Catania Innovation Lab in Italy, for example, Enel experts look to engage big data, IoT, AI, and AR to develop renewable energy technology.
Innovation Lab Name: Innovation Center
Founded: 2018 (DC location)
3M’s newest innovation center is located in Washington, DC. 3M aims for the center to serve as a space to introduce both business and government decision-makers and policymakers to the solutions it has developed across energy and healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, defense, and safety.
Innovation Lab Name: Marriott Innovation Lab
At the Marriott Innovation Lab in Bethesda, Maryland, researchers and designers test new ideas for the hotel’s 30 brands. The 10,000-square-foot facility features a set of hotel rooms where teams can innovate and experiment with new technologies, services, and features for the hotels of the future.
Innovation Lab Name: The Hangar
Delta says it’s not “chasing tech for tech’s sake” at The Hangar, Delta’s innovation center located at Tech Square in Atlanta. Instead, it is “looking for real opportunities to solve business problems.” Projects to date include a “pre-select meal bot,” voice assistants for flight updates, drone lightning inspections, and a mobile gate interface for Delta agents.
Innovation Lab Name: Innovation Lab
AccorHotels has developed an innovation ecosystem that brings together its Innovation Lab with startups, students, SMEs, large companies, and events and exhibitions. Through collaborative innovation, the company hopes to achieve what it has coined “Augmented Hospitality,” i.e., the ability to anticipate a customer’s every need.
Notable projects include “The Flying Nest” and “The Loft” — both of which are mobile accommodation solutions designed to help event organizers set up hotel rooms in places where housing is either limited or simply doesn’t exist.
Innovation Lab Name: Innovation Gallery
Hilton’s Innovation Gallery showcases the hospitality group’s newest innovations. It’s also meant to create spaces for conversations between its design experts and other leaders in the industry. The 4,300-square-foot space includes a product showcase, a food and beverage concept studio, and a virtual reality stage.
Innovation Lab Name: Samara
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Samara is Airbnb’s in-house design studio. The team’s first initiative was a communal housing project in Japan. Its current project, Backyard, is “an initiative to prototype new ways that homes can be built and shared.” Samara’s team is looking to apply advanced manufacturing and smart home technologies to create homes that are more human-centered, futuristic, and environmentally friendly.