By @SimonCocking review of Innovation Lab Excellence: Digital Transformation from Within. Available from Amazon here.

Innovation Lab Excellence dives past the slick surface of espresso machines, youthful techies and creatively designed co-working spaces to examine, in detail, the conditions and practices necessary for a lab and innovation to initiate and thrive.

This book goes behind the scenes of working innovation labs to distill a rigorous set of best practices. Apply these to unleash the innovation that will give your enterprise a digital competitive advantage.

Written by an award-winning expert in financial technology and global manager of multiple labs, Richard Turrin is an award-winning executive with more than 20 years of experience in fintech innovation. He is an independent Fintech and AI consultant, helping clients navigate the unchartered waters associated with the latest cognitive technologies. He previously headed fintech for IBM Cognitive Studios Singapore (IBM’s Innovation Lab) and worked for IBM China where he led his team to win the prestigious “Risk Technology Product of the Year” award for his unique hybrid-cloud solution to risk analytics.

People talk a lot about innovation, its importance, and how they are going to achieve it. As the author of this book, Richard Turrin, aims to explain, managing to achieve this is a much harder task. Once you have been around the tech scene for a while you will have come across numerous funky workplaces. Actually after a while, in many many cities you go to, the biggest thing people want you to do is to often go to their offices, so that you can see their workplaces. Once this even happened to us about 1 am in the morning,  so keen were they to show us their place of work, that they would accept no possible refusal, even an imminent flight was not enough of a reason not to attend. In the end, in a successful comprise we did visit their offices (very nice they were too) and they arranged for their chauffeur to take us from there to the airport to catch the flight (who says that the world of tech isn’t high flying and glamorous sometimes LOL).

Turrin’s book sensibly aims to cut through the funky art murals to offer value in terms of how to actually do the best you can to ensure your innovation lab / hub / garage / workshop is set up to be as successful as possible. Turrin lists the many ways in which previous projects have failed, too little freedom, too much freedom, too much money, too little, overall he does a good job of articulating the difficult path that must be followed to engender creativity, but at the same time with a purpose. We enjoyed reading this book for the interesting examples, as he clearly is writing from a place of experience and lots of his insights were on the money.

If your company is thinking of setting up an innovation lab this book is well worth reading, and could easily be money well spent to avoid some of the mistakes those that have gone before you.


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