Charlotte Rush24 November 2017

An exclusive peek into one of Australia’s most wanted innovation labs

Chances are that if you have innovation in your job title or are responsible for the innovation program at your organisation, you have considered creating your very own innovation lab. Whether you are still on the fence, or fully converted, it can be difficult to know where to prioritise your efforts when embarking on the journey of creating a space dedicated to innovation.

From the work we do at Inventium along with decades of research, we know that the space we are in has a significant impact on our ability to generate creative ideas. The most important factors are ensuring your space has elements of the natural environment, warm colours (or colours that remind us of the natural environment such as blue and green) and lots of diverse stimuli (new and unexpected bits and bobs to spark new thoughts, feelings and emotions). All of the above can be achieved quickly and cheaply when running creative thinking workshops. However, if you are looking to invest in something more permanent, we have some great inspiration for you.

In February this year, Lendlease – who was ranked 14th in the 2017 AFR’s Most Innovative Companies list – opened its doors to its very own Innovation Lab in Barangaroo, Sydney. According to Lorraine Sarayeldin, Head of Experimental Projects – Australia, “the lab reflects the innovation pathway, it acts as a home for innovators to create, test, build and implement their idea”.

I had the opportunity to visit the Lab in May and was inspired by the space, which was created to support Lendlease’s innovation efforts and give innovators a place to bring their ideas to life. According to Michael Vavakis, Chief People Officer, the team “are already seeing fantastic results from innovators who now have a place to take their ideas, get support and work through them using resources available in the space like virtual reality technology and a 3D printer.”

In the Lab, you will find green spaces for creative thinking and blue spaces for working through ideas, as well as a Tool Shed for experimenting. The Lab has ample natural light, representations of the natural environment through their faux grass “Ideate” placard and wooden amphitheatre-style seating. Desks in the ideate room of the Lab also have LEGO for idle hands looking for inspiration – highly relevant for a construction company! The Lab is used not only as a place to encourage employees to innovate, but also as a space to facilitate sessions with external partners – the innovation team recently hosted Stanford Professors, Perry Klebahn and Jeremy Utley to run a Design Thinking session with 45 Lendlease senior executives.

If you are interested in hearing more about the Innovation Lab, you can reach out to Lendlease’s Lab Coordinator, Moana Masaniai.

And if you are interested in finding out about how Inventium helped Lendlease create its global innovation pathway and built global capability, you might want to take a look at this.

And if you are reading this from Melbourne and are looking for inspiration, we’d love to give you a tour of Inventium HQ and our purpose built innovation workshop space, The Odd One Out. It’s been scientifically proven to increase creative thought and drive innovative outcomes. Otherwise, next time you are in Sydney, I encourage you to check out this space at Lendlease! If you are looking for more inspiration in Australia, you can also check out the 3m Innovation Centre or CommBank’s Innovation Lab.

If you have any more recommendations for great spaces that inspire innovative thought around Australia, let me know! You can share your comments on Inventium’s LinkedIn page, or email me, Charlotte, directly at For now, have a great week!


Want to become a better innovator?

We’ve created a report that explains the six innovation mistakes almost every organisation makes.

Avoid those mistakes by reading this!