Virtually all global services firms have invested in digital studios, and for many agencies, it’s just the way they’ve worked for years. But despite these investments, many services buyers don’t know what digital studios are — never mind how they can utilize them. Whether you’re heading up a digital business team or a services firm at the early stages of your studio strategy, here are five questions to ask before embarking on a digital studios journey:

  1. How does a digital studio fuel my overall innovation strategy? One of the dangers of innovation labs is that the space can act like a silo, where ideas can’t be funneled back and scaled. Instead of spending time upfront describing requirements, define what your business goal is and how it fuels your company’s overall innovation strategy. This will set the tone for when, where, and how studios will support your project.
  2. What is it that we can’t accomplish at home? Agile is easier said than done, and innovation is easier to aspire to than to operationalize. Is your company ready to implement mixed reality experiences but you need help developing the skills to do so? Or are you flying at a higher level and trying to build a shared vision of the future of retail? Answering these questions will help define what offerings, methodologies, and approaches are required to jump-start your digital projects.
  3. Who should be a part of the team? Could your team be described as homogeneous? If so, you likely have the wrong people. Digital studios enable cross-functional, cross-hierarchy collaboration. While role involvement will flex over the course of the engagement, be prepared to not just ask your services partner for flexible staffing but to take the same approach internally.
  4. What type of space do we need? Is your goal executive alignment, where you need an open space to think differently? Or are you focused on redefining your customer experience and need a fully stocked garage to rapid prototype new associate-facing tools? Digital studios come in a variety of flavors that support different needs.
  5. Who else can I leverage? You’ve already tapped your services partner and internal stakeholders . . . but what about your software vendors? Startups? Academia? Digital studios are a physical gateway to your services partner’s ecosystem; use this opportunity to meet and use the “best of.”

If you get stuck on any of these questions or want to know how others have answered these, let’s talk.