Category Archives: Innovation Labs

Innovation Labs Team visits the Harvard i-Lab


An innovation space should accommodate all kinds of group collaboration through mixed methods and both physical and virtual space. (And chalkboards!) The DPSI Innovation Spaces team shares insights from site visits to unique innovation-oriented centers in Boston.

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Academic life in Cambridge has its quirks. Many of us spend much of our time expanding our intellectual universes from the comforts of desks and dorms and relatively little time physically exploring the world outside of Cambridge. This fall, though, the Innovation Spaces team has shown the moxie the rest of us lack (at times): twice, they’ve crossed the river into Boston for two field trips – which complements the globe-wide searching of innovation spaces/centers/incubators/labs/etc. that they do virtually.

The Innovation Spaces team (also known by its lengthier title: Cataloging, Designing, Evaluating, and Developing Shared Practices Around Innovation Labs) visited Bolt, a hardware-oriented seed fund in Boston, and the Harvard i-Lab in Allston, where they chatted with i-Labbers about what being an innovation space really means in the context of their work. Whether it’s physical structures and layouts, programming (like workshops, contests, and more), or human interaction, the i-Lab has several ways of fostering and facilitating groups of people to work together on new ideas.


Here are a couple thoughts on the video highlighting the i-Lab field trip:

  • Physical space in the i-Lab is designed to be multi-use and multi-purpose. It’s versatile; perhaps modular.
  • Physical space can be designed for applications that involve making large groups work and talk together, like in large plenary events. Having a/v that enables speakers and audience members to be heard by one another throughout the room, and which easily enables recording, is a nice feature. Idea paint and chalkboards, on the other hand, allow shared space to be come intimate group-work and -think space spontaneously…
  • Which leads me to my next point: time-tested analog assets, like chalkboards, can still go a long way!