Starbucks’ secret innovation lab is the key to its future
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Starbucks’ secret innovation lab is the key to its future

Starbucks is a major force on the high street, and the undeniable coffeehouse kingpin. But that doesn’t mean it can rest on its laurels. Strong competitors at home in the west, and Chinese upstart Luckin Coffee in Starbucks’ second market, are putting the pressure on… luckily, the company knows a thing or two about innovation. While many customers return year on year for their favourite seasonal beverages (Pumpkin Spice Latte, anybody?) there is a constant need for new flavours to capture more market share and retain the flightier end of the market. Starbuck keeps up with it thanks to an until-now secret innovation laboratory: the Tryer Center.

Starbucks’ share price has appreciated by 33% so far this year

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Source: Yahoo Finance

In a recent blog post, where Starbucks announced the center’s existence to the world (it’s only been up and running since last November), the company’s CEO, Kevin Johnson, described it as a “secret sandbox for every flavour of innovation.” Apparently, more than 130 ideas have already come out of it, dozens of which are already on sale inn Starbucks stores around the world.

Johnson, who previously worked in the tech industry, says that the Tryer Center is “a cross between a laboratory, a design firm, and a dot-com start-up.” But it’s not anything goes – Johnson expects practical ideas to come out of the center, saying: “we are embracing new ideas and innovating in ways that are relevant to our customers, inspiring to our partners, and meaningful to our business.”

Get a guided tour of the facility below:

Summing up the thinking behind the innovation lab, Johnson said: “For me, the Tryer Center is sort of the physical manifestation of a new way of working at Starbucks. Scale and complexity can be the enemy of speed. We realized two years ago we had to change the way we work in order to be more agile.”

Dominion holds Starbucks in its Global Trends Managed Fund.

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