Starbucks has a new innovation lab that developed more than 130 projects in under a year, including tech updates, Instagram-worthy drinks, and soup-making equipment
- Starbucks quietly opened a new innovation lab in its Seattle headquarters in November.
- Projects based in the Tryer Center are intended to go from idea to action in 100 days, with Starbucks churning through more than 130 projects so far.
- Read on for a look inside the lab.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
A tour of Starbucks' new innovation lab reveals a new approach to change that has taken root at the coffee giant.
This week, Starbucks released a video of CEO Kevin Johnson giving a tour of the Tryer Center, the innovation lab that the company quietly opened in November on the ground floor of its Seattle headquarters. Since then, the company has churned out more than 130 projects from the lab, with dozens making their way into stores.
"Scale and complexity can be the enemy of speed," Johnson said in a post about the Tryer Center on Starbucks' website. "We realized two years ago we had to change the way we work in order to be more agile."
Here's a look inside Starbucks' new innovation lab.
The lab is intended to boost innovation at Starbucks without bogging down the company, with Johnson saying in the video that it aims to transform ideas into action in just 100 days.
"People have said, 'How does a tech guy end up running a coffee company?'" said Johnson, who previously worked at tech companies including Microsoft. “But in the technology industry, if you fail to innovate or reinvent, you fall behind."
Customers have already seen some of the results of Starbucks' work at the Tryer Center.
Starbucks tested the Cloud Macchiato, the company's second most viral drink of all time, in the lab last year before it launched nationally in early March.
Starbucks has tested dozens of new beverages at Cold Pop, a mini store inside the Tryer Center where the company sells roughly 200 beverage a day to employees for $5 a drink.
Other innovations are intended to improve the customer experience, such as developing a new system for customers to pick up their mobile orders.
Another work in progress is the Precision Milk Dispenser, currently in tests, which is meant to make it easier and quicker to perfectly measure the right amount of milk into drinks.
Not every idea is a success. Starbucks did a 100-day project to put soup on the menu, including inventing soup-warming equipment. The project was canned after soup failed to sell.
Starbucks employees outside of Seattle can vote on projects they like and share their own ideas via Springboard, an internal company website to crowdsource innovation.
The Tryer Center is just one way Starbucks is pushing for new types of innovation faster than ever before. Earlier this year, the company announced a $100 million investment in Valor Siren Ventures, a new fund focused on food and retail startups.
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