Founded in 2009 as a research project between curious colleagues who were interested in knowing more about innovation, The Innovators CoLab (iCoLab) has evolved into a global collaboration of corporate innovators, intrapreneurs, R&D leads, and strategists. We've collaborated with Fortune 500's, economic development agencies, federal agencies, corporate laboratories, and startups to support a range of innovation efforts.
More information about our history and results can be found here.
iCoLab is a private collaboration of senior innovation leaders. Our members represent manufacturing, education, CPG, technology, telecom and cable, retail industries and many others. Benchmarking best practices, sharing services, and connecting to resources across industries remain core practices our members value, as it allows for solutions not readily apparent through a single industry perspective. Additionally, sharing across industries in a private setting allows for unique solutions to emerge. Senior executives rarely have an opportunity to let their guard down and ask for peer help - our collaboration offers a space to design, think, and collaborate around the most vexing, difficult challenges facing our members.
Each member must be invited to join our collaboration. We look for a meaningful investment (or anticipated investment) being made into innovation and growth initiatives. Also, cultural fit is important for maintaining our close, peer-based collaboration so we assess character, personality, and reputation when extending invitation's to any prospective member. We will only extend invitations when this criteria is met or exceeded.
Each member joins and hold an industry specific seat. For instance, one company will hold our CPG Industry Seat, another will hold our Manufacturing Industry Seat, and another will hold our Telecom Industry Seat. This mechanism ensures no two organizations from the same industry or sector joins the collaboration. We've repeatedly heard from members that holding an industry seat in iCoLab offers competitive advantage they can use to gain an innovative edge. Members with seniority monitor our invitations to ensure our No Competitors Allowed policy is adhered to.
We facilitate the collaboration on behalf of our members - for their benefit and value. All members have input into our working group formats, processes, content, new partnerships, and invitations to new members. On occasion, we will create and develop new shared services for a specific member that will be made available to all current and future members.
Each member joins on an annual basis with multi-year engagements available. Once the New Member Invitation process has been completed we will launch our collaboration with your innovation team. We first identify the scope of our collaboration and determine how, where and what value you will derive from our shared efforts. There are several formats and options for collaborating with our group, some of which are explained below.
Facilitated by our Advisory Board, and occasionally Members themselves, our Working Groups are an opportunity to collaborate with members to solve challenges, create new innovations, and deepen their knowledge of innovation practices. Structured as 90-Day projects, Members receive weekly reflection questions and meet with their group virtually every other week to discuss their progress.
These small group sessions are led by our staff with the intention of helping each individual member solve an innovation challenge. Each member presents an innovation challenge to their peers and is led through a professionally facilitated session over the course of several hours. Not only does this format deliver solutions that members can deploy immediately, it also deepens relationships between members that exist beyond the session. More often than not, members share similar challenges which can be immensely helpful during and after the session.
Strategy and Planning Workshops
Once a month we host strategy and planning sessions for our members. Innovation is inherently a long-term commitment therefore we create a space to plan innovation strategies, develop new initiatives, share practices, and discuss marketplace observations. Working in this collaborative environment produces the bond that makes our group unique.
We've organized a world-class set of corporate innovation management resources that are available through our shared services platform and referral program. These resources include best practices and access to our knowledge base, challenge solutions, vendors and service providers, capital, consultants, technology partners and much more. Current and previous members have requested these resources so you can be sure they're relevant, vetted, and valuable.
Our Advisory Board consists of current or former Chief Innovation Officers each offering a specific domain of experience to our Members. We've constructed the Board to offer a wide range of expertise including innovation strategy, leadership, operations, culture, human-centered design, governance and management. Members have exclusive access to the Board for mentoring, coaching, consulting and advising.
On a more transactional basis, Members can tap in the vast resources on offer from the iCoLab for business and corporate development purposes. Whether that's searching for new joint-ventures, accessing growth capital, running pilots and test markets, or facilitating an introduction to a new business partner, our Commercialization Partner program (click here) can be used to connect you with new opportunities.