How to Turn Innovation Labs into Business Success: A case study of what business model design that could be applicable to an innovation lab in a technical consulting firm
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Historically, there have been three types of innovation in engineering consultancy. Those include innovation within operational projects and processes, innovation involving new products on request from customers that solves a given problem and innovation in the delivery methods. The increasingly competitive market that consulting firms are facing results in significant challenges in terms of innovation in general. Innovation capabilities is especially important in technical and engineering consulting firms since they offer knowledge intensive business services to act as a co-producer of innovation. To foster innovation and thus achieve a competitive advantage, many firms in different industries have started to build innovation capabilities through innovation labs. The innovation labs offer organizations a space to test ideas for new services, programs, and products, while also exploring how the latest technologies will impact business overall. Conducting research in innovation labs has traditionally not been included in a technical consulting firm´s core business. That fact brings the challenge of creating an appropriate business model for an innovation lab and connect it with the overall business strategy of the firm. Thus, this research was made to investigate what business model that can be adopted by an innovation lab in a technical consulting firm. This has been done by conducting a case study at Semcon, a Swedish technical consulting firm. Semcon was chosen as an illustrative case company because it can be viewed as a typical technical consulting firm and also as they search for a business model for their newly founded innovation lab. The case study consisted of interviews and a workshop including people from Semcon’s upper management, as well as other people relevant for the study. A complementary empirical study has been conducted with four companies of aspiration in order to analyze current business models for innovation labs. Lastly, a business canvas framework was chosen as a guide in the empirical study and the discussion. The results showed that there are different variations of innovation labs with varying purposes and roles in the organizations. Many of them have collaboration with external parties, such as startups and academia. Some innovation labs worked as supporting units in the organizations and/or as service offerings to the companies’ clients. The findings of the study resulted in a business canvas that represents a recommended business model for the case company´s innovation lab. In addition, a dynamic representation of the business model was created, which visualizes the workflow from idea to product development. It works as an extension of the business canvas and displays possible ways for it to be used.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 103 p.
business models, innovation lab, business canvas, technical consulting firms
Economics and Business
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-189508OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-189508DiVA: diva2:946437