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Monday, December 01, 2008

Innovation Centers

One of my interests is how to effectively create contextual innovation spaces. These can be physical spaces, such as the ones we created at Procter & Gamble. I just discovered that the Chinese mega retailer, Hualian, has posted some of the details of their innovation center being constructed near Beijing, We consulted on that effort in 2002. Also notable is the Kimberly-Clark virtual center model. Also took a look at virtual worlds models by retailers like Sears and Circuit City.

Physical versus Virtual spaces? There are advantages to both. Physical spaces are harder to rearrange and remotely utilize. They do provide a tactile experience which can provide better engagement with participants. This is in part because they are similar to the bricks-and-mortar spaces they seek to model. So once an ideal solution is created it can be readily moved to actual store spaces for test.

Physical block models that don't attempt to model the scale of retail spaces, though less impressive, do also add a tactile engagement dimension.

Virtual spaces are easier to build and modify and once a library of spaces is created they can be retrieved and used to create experiments quickly. (example at the right is Kimberly-Clark's) They can also be readily linked to data and simulation models based on real data, further augmenting the potential engagement.

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