Innovation Lab

What is innovation?
‘Innovation’ is about finding creative solutions to problems or new opportunities, using a variety of tools – from the simple to the more complex – in a tangible and measurable way.


This Innovation Lab has been created so that there is a supportive one stop space for you to develop your ideas into more tangible proposals. To aid this, a suite of tools and resources have been developed, with clear instructions and examples to help guide your innovations and new processes, step by step.

Understanding the problem

Man looking at wall

15 Words

This tool will help you to focus your thinking on key words or phrases that need to be included in your goal and problem statements.

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Problem / Goal Statement

This tool is designed to help understand the potential problems and then the potential impact you hope to make.

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This tool will give you a helicopter view of your current customers and outputs required.

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The “Fishbone” or cause and effect diagram is a really quick way of identifying the causes of an effect.

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This tool helps you to develop a clear plan by analysing what your options are so that you have a richer understanding of what your idea is and what it can offer.

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PESTLE stands for Political; Economic; Societal; Technological; Legal; and Environmental.  It is a useful tool for helping you to understand the wider context for your idea.

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Future & Current Situation Design Tool

Design thinking is an important addition to any innovation tool kit.   It helps you consider what you are trying to achieve, what the current situation is, and how you are going to get to the preferred situation.

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I want to know the evidence

looking at evidence

Local Area Profiles

These labour market profiles of key areas includes information from key datasets on population, employment, unemployment, qualifications, earnings, benefit claimants and businesses to support decision.


Braintree (Witham)


Castle Point



Epping Forest




Rochford (Rayleigh)



On who do I want to impact

classroom meeting

Persona tool

Personas are used to represent different target subgroups that an organisation wants to reach.  Being aware of the different preferences, routines and motivations these different Personas have, can help you customise your products and services to these specific subgroups.

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What are the outcomes?

teaching classroom

Outcomes Star Tool

This is a creative was of developing a clear set of outcomes so that your work is focused on getting the most effective and appropriate impact.

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Innovation form

This form is for when you have used one or more of the tools to refine your idea. This is so you can request support to take your idea to the next stage, turning it into a strong proposal that can become something of real benefit. Which might receive financial investment if needed to make it a reality. When you’ve completed it as best you can, the Innovation Lab support team will get in touch to chat through your idea and look at next steps.