Ideas become reality at the Innovation Lab in Kaiseraugst.

Big companies rely on the success of something known as innovation labs – rooms in which new ideas are initiated and put into practice. This way, they try to inject a bit of Silicon Valley and the start-up mentality into corporate structures, which can be rather static in very large companies.

Roche, too, has recognised the value these labs can add. Part of the digital revolution that is going on worldwide, innovation labs have now been set up by the regional IT departments at several sites. The largest are the labs in Kaiseraugst, San Francisco and Warsaw.

Not a normal meeting room

On entering the lab in Kaiseraugst, you immediately notice that this isn’t a “normal” meeting room: normal chairs are replaced by colourful seating and standing cubes, and digital walls, a projector and high tables challenge people to adopt a new method of working. You automatically get the feeling that there is no place for fixed structures and processes here.

The intention behind the lab is both to encourage the exchange of ideas between IT and the other functions and promote cooperation within the various IT departments.

The innovation Lab in Kaiseraugst offers a platform to exchange new innovative digital ideas and further develop them to create business impact. It’s a place for people to learn, get inspired by technology and create prototypes for digital solutions. In addition, we connect with other labs and innovation groups in Roche.
Jennifer Altman, Head Pharma Informatics International & IT Site Head Basel/Kaiseraugst

A new option offered by the room in Kaiseraugst is rapid prototyping. With this technique, a prototype such as an app can be developed live and tested simultaneously. This is a concept with a future.

The word ‘agility’ is on everyone’s lips at the moment and many people wonder what it means in specific terms. For me, rapid prototyping is an example of agile working.
Alain Bindels, Innovation Lab Director and Basel Innovation Group Lead, Roche

Part of a greater whole

For Alain, it is also important that the lab does not stand alone but is part of a larger trend in the Northwestern Switzerland region: the Swiss Innovation Hub for Precision Medicine “Day One”. This hub is an initiative launched by healthcare experts in the life science industry and research, the canton of Basel-Stadt and BaselArea.swiss. The objective of “Day One” is to enhance cooperation between the various disciplines and stakeholders in the healthcare sector so that Basel can continue to hold its own as a location in the future. The lab in Kaiseraugst fits in with this scheme perfectly.

Promote ideas outside the normal company structures

Digitisation in the healthcare sector is also presenting new challenges for Roche. Our IT organisation is of immense strategic importance in this respect, not least when it comes to advancing our business model. We develop and implement innovative technologies which help Roche to maintain its position of market leadership and above all to offer our patients the best possible treatments.
Alan Hippe, Chief Financial and Information Officer, Roche

The IT department has a particularly important role to play in the field of personalised medicine:

By implementing targeted technologies, we will be able to work in a more focused manner in research and development and optimise our methods in diagnostics. To retain our leading position in IT, we have to promote new technologies and be open to exploring new avenues. Our innovation labs support this novel approach to generating new ideas and promoting them outside the normal company structures.
Alan Hippe, Chief Financial and Information Officer, Roche

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