Earlier this year, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic was widespread in the U.S., Savas Labs celebrated its five-year anniversary (remember parties?), a natural time for reflection. As we have added many new team members over the last year, we have evolved as an organization in what we offer, and how we think about our purpose. In times of reflection about what we are, and what we aspire to be/cultivate, we have found ourselves consistently returning to two themes: “impact” and “innovation.” We want to best leverage our creative forces for good, and we always want to improve, and adapt to what lies in front of and ahead of us, never stagnating.
During the pandemic, like many, we have found ourselves with more time at home. With the world on pause, our strategists, designers, and developers have been afforded more time for introspection and experimentation. Thus, we’ve rolled out an initiative here at Savas affectionately known as Labs: a place where we can experiment with ideas and technology. Shortly after hosting our first hackathon at the team retreat last fall, which we wrote about, we continued to evolve this innovation practice by carving out time in the form of a weekly Labs meeting. After we were forced to call off our in-person spring retreat — where we discuss various aspects of the business, reflecting on the past, and setting goals for the future — we channeled some of that missed connection time into the Labs platform. A positive to this format is we've been able to have more frequent check-ins on the latest and greatest tools, areas people want to learn more about, and tangible things we can produce to make the world (or at least the digital world) a better place.
During these weekly Labs meetings, we invite the whole team to pitch new ideas for anything they find meaningful, fun, or exciting to pursue. Whether it be a new product idea, a pro bono engagement with a local organization, something we could create for an existing client to enhance their work, or a fun little experiment — all ideas are welcome. When an idea gains enough collective traction, we slot it in as a project, and the ideators figure out how to make it happen, with the support of the rest of the team of course.
We have found that having Labs™ a more regular part of our workweek has energized the team in a time that has proven challenging for all of us in many ways.
We count among our earliest labs projects at least three new “experiments” ranging from a site that helps local restaurants with delivery in present times to a tool to help form creators think through data collection for users of all identities.
Stay tuned as we roll out each of these exciting projects in our Labs space. We’d love to know what you think about them, or even better, any ideas you have to make them more innovative or impactful!