The Financial Post reports in its Friday edition that some of the country's largest retailers have opened so-called "innovation labs" in recent years to test new technologies, develop products and forecast trends.
The Post's Hollie Shaw writes that in so doing, companies such as Lululemon athletica, Sears Canada and Canadian Tire are trying to figure out how increasingly technology-enabled customers want to shop, and the future-focused business units are often viewed by executives as a response to the frequently touted retail maxim "innovate or die."
As such, leaders from the innovation business units at Sears and Lululemon says it is critical that the test labs work in tandem with the strategies of the central retail business in order for the projects they work on to affect real change. Lululemon opened its innovation lab, Whitespace, in 2014.
Lululemon's Courtney Lawrence says, "For the apparel industry and for retail, you need the components of research and development, strategic thinking and innovation, and really strong human-centred insights."
Whitespace's goal is to create products that bring a new value to the company, products "that fundamentally change the customers' behaviour in some way."
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