Update, 18 July 2016: This article refers to Lab12 Innovation, which has since been rebranded to DWC Ltd.
Today, I am delighted to share with you my most personal blog yet, written with my friend, business partner, and co-founder of Lab12 Innovation Ltd, Jake Chambers. We are excited to announce the arrival of Lab12, our new strategy and innovation services company, opening in January 2016.
Our inspiration to launch Lab12 comes from a burning desire to make a much larger contribution to something we believe in. As heads and co-founders of Nationwide Building Society’s Innovation Lab, we have introduced new ways to make compelling experiences for customers. We created an ‘Innovation’ team, and gave them the conditions and methods to deliver results with pace and precision. It has been, and continues to be, a huge success.
Our achievements at Nationwide have left us wanting to do more. An intense motivation to make a difference – beyond the boundaries of permanent employment with a single organisation – drove us to act, and so we will be leaving Nationwide to open Lab12 in January.
What will Lab12 offer?
Lab12 will deliver ambitious strategy and the methods to help organisations achieve it. We will form innovative ideas, shape them into solid propositions and bring them to life by turning them into fantastic experiences that drive growth.
We will work with organisations to infuse them with new energy, sharp focus and the skills needed to prosper in the ‘Innovation Age’, and we will provide the know-how and resources for them to think, act and deliver change with discipline and confidence.
People are people
Our values for Lab12 are important to us. They came easily because they are values we already shared as individuals:
- Purpose – know, and remember, what we are striving for.
- Drive – keep the hunger and passion to achieve great things.
- Precision – be disciplined and laser-guided in thought and action.
- Integrity – do work that’s meaningful, and always be authentic.
We think the secret to great culture lies in instilling a genuine shared purpose while encouraging individuality. As Billy Connolly put it, “You be you, and I’ll be me”. We have found that liberating people to be themselves, while keeping the discipline to ensure we’re all pulling in the same direction, is very powerful.
Louder than words
Doubt is an irritating but useful human survival mechanism, and in the case of the new business founder, it’s there to make us check and recheck that our plans make sense. We’ve been lucky to be able to sense-check and hone the Lab12 business model, and our belief in our ability to create something unique and valuable, with some great friends, advisers, and the odd gentle reminder to ourselves of the fact that we are 40-something professionals with a lot of experience in the right environments and at a senior level.
We’ve had two decades of taking our own medicine when designing, delivering and being accountable for the results of strategy, propositions and change within some of the world’s most prominent businesses, including Vodafone, Northern Rock Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, AT&T, PwC and IBM. Nationwide Building Society gifted us the opportunity to make a contribution to a brand described as a ‘national treasure’ and continues to live up to its ‘on your side’ mantra by enabling us to develop and talk about our business ahead of its launch in January.
This energy, aspiration, and expertise, combined with an extensive network of associates, exciting new startups and technology powerhouses, both in London and Silicon Valley, has reassured us. We are ready.
What’s in a name?
When we sat down together to talk this through and agree the business model one sunny San Francisco evening, inspired by the spirit of Silicon Valley, we emerged 12 hours later, invigorated by a vision, with absolute clarity of purpose and a strategy to achieve it. This is the ethos that underpins everything we do.
Lab12 is about investing your 12 hours, 12 days, 12 weeks or months with an exacting sense of purpose and focus. It’s about turning great ideas into fantastic experiences for customers and employees, and helping businesses to grow and thrive in the Innovation Age.
– This article is reproduced with kind permission. Some minor changes have been made to reflect BankNXT style considerations.