This past week, Aetna announced their innovation lab (see press release). This adds to several other labs out there including the Express Scripts lab, the Humana Innovation lab, and the two Kaiser facilities (Garfield and the Center For Total Health). I’m sure there are more.
It made me think about this as a tool for driving innovation. Based on my limited experience visiting 3 of these 4, it seems like they fall into a few types:
- An operational prototype for showing how innovation can affect process and experience.
- A showcase for demonstrating technology and new ideas.
- A demonstration center for showcasing research and the pilot process.
This makes me think of visiting the Domino’s Pizza facility years ago where they had different pizzas being served and tried there to see how employees reacted. In other cases, you see companies like Walgreens rollout new locations and test the consumer response as a type of living lab.