Innovation Lab

The UK-GBC Innovation Lab is based on the concept of ‘open innovation’ - the idea that, in a world of widely distributed knowledge, companies cannot afford to rely entirely on their own research, but can instead benefit from innovating with partners, sharing risk and reward.  Through this exciting new programme, UK-GBC will work together with the sector to break through some its biggest challenges, and identify and develop innovative solutions to solve real business issues. 


About the programme

The Innovation Lab will identify and address systemic challenges facing businesses within the sector, and co-create innovative and highly sustainable solutions. The lab builds on UK-GBC’s strong track record of challenging ‘business as usual’, promoting innovative solutions, and fostering collective problem solving and will run in partnership with a consortium of industry-leading organisations.

The Innovation Lab began with a workshop to identify the ‘breakthrough challenge’, which will form the focus of a 9-month programme of work.  In order to arrive at the challenge, UK-GBC will work with Lead Partners and thought leaders from the UK-GBC membership and beyond to explore future trends for the built environment as well as key environmental and social challenges, and pain points for business. Innovation Lab participants will respond to this challenge by mapping existing innovations, fostering relationships with the start-up community, and where a gap is identified, generating new innovative solutions to solve the challenge.

Those involved gain a deep insight into the innovation process and its practical implementation; experience being part of an innovation-driven, collaborative culture; generate intelligence on other innovations in the market; and be exposed to many interesting, spin-off ideas that could benefit their business.

The Process

PHASE 1 - INFORM: A review of the major business ‘pain points’ and built environment problems in the built environment now and in the future; filter these problems to arrive at one key challenge, which will form the basis of the Innovation Lab;

PHASE 2 - INSIGHTS: Using structured innovation framework and workshops, identify the breakthrough insights required to help solve the problem; including an exploration of innovative solutions already in the market that could play a part in solving this issue;

PHASE 3 - IDEAS: Develop a series of new potential business model concepts that could solve the identified issue, building on/connecting into those innovative solutions already emerging in the market; progress at least one of these concepts to a ‘beta’ version, and create an implementation plan to take this business model into live projects and real buildings.

PHASE 4 - IMPLEMENT: Work with lead partners to take the innovative products and services to real projects, and track the impact of these. 

Sources of Innovation

There are three key sources of innovation to the Innovation Lab, all of which will contribute to solving our problem/challenge as identified in Phase 1:

1. Existing innovations - products/services already on the market (which do not yet have widestream takeup) 

2. Embryonic innovations - products/services which are at a very early stage of development in start-ups and SMEs, but need further development, refinement, and testing.

3. Solutions generation - brand new ideas that no one has yet considered, which can be developed by the lead partner group, with input from innovators (technologists, app developers, start ups)

How to get involved

The Innovation Lab is being delivered with a consortium of pioneering and ambitious organisations, each committed to driving forward the green building agenda, along with a host of experts from across the sector.

If you'd like to be involved as a Lead Partner, please contact Cat Hirst.

If you have an innovation that you would like to be showcased through the programme, please see our call for innovations here.

Programme Collaborator

Switch On Worldwide

The Innovation Lab has been developed in collaboration with our delivery partner Switch On Worldwide. Switch On is leadership consultancy - born from a disruptive innovation agency - dedicated to equipping leaders with everything they need to find and seize opportunities for continuous business breakthroughs that create value and drive impact within the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous, Networked and Stressed (VUCANS) world.

With thanks to our Lead Partners