Gurugram, 1 August 2022: Smartphone and consumer electronics major Samsung is fostering a strong culture of innovation among its employees globally, including in India, through its C-Lab (Creative Lab) program. C-Lab is an internal idea incubation program that allows employees to develop their creative ideas into meaningful proposals while remaining with the company.
C-Lab aims to cultivate a creative culture at Samsung that inspires employees to freely offer innovative ideas and solutions that meet the world’s challenges. Employees whose ideas are selected through the C-Lab program work as a startup at Samsung for a year, separate from the normal work environment. C-Lab members have the flexibility to set their own hours and days. They can also set their own rules and hire additional members.
Twice each year, employees can submit their ideas through an internal system that goes through an online vote and is reviewed by experts. Final pitches are held in front of 100 employees, an evaluation panel and 10 Samsung executives.
“Our vision for C-Lab is to expand the creative culture in the company by discovering and implementing innovative ideas. We aim for a hybrid innovation that combines the know-how of a large corporation and the challenging spirit of a small venture company to spread throughout Samsung,” said Mark Son of the Center for Creativity and Innovation, Samsung Electronics.
The selected teams work on prototyping their ideas and market testing them within a year of working with Samsung as a startup. These teams are given multiple opportunities to showcase their progress and receive feedback. One possibility is the C-Lab fair held every November. Another option is to get feedback from external customers by presenting prototypes at global trade shows such as CES, MWC, and South by Southwest.
Since 2015, Samsung has introduced the C-Lab project spin-off program. Those projects that were not closely related to Samsung’s business and were not transferred to an internal division were separated.
An example of the success of the C-Lab program is a company founded by Pankaj Agarwal, who joined Samsung in South Korea in 2004. Today, his startup TagHive, a spin-off from C-Lab, offers AI-based smart school solutions to connect students , teachers and parents for better feedback for all. TagHive’s ‘Class Saathi’, a click-based classroom response system, helps reduce student dropout in Indian public schools. TagHive is currently working closely with the state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha to implement Class Saathi.
In the last 10 years since C-Lab started, over 1,507 employees have participated in 365 C-Lab projects worldwide. Many innovations have come out of C-Lab over the years that are now part of Samsung – such as Galaxy Upcycling, Eco-packaging, Lifestyle TV “The Sero” and new features for mobile cameras and Samsung Pay. The program has activated 59 start-ups.
In 2018, Samsung also introduced the C-Lab Outside program to revitalize the startup ecosystem and promote job creation by helping startups grow their businesses through financial assistance, mentoring, consulting, business collaboration and infrastructure support .
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Samsung Enabling Open Innovation Culture Among Employees Globally Through its C-Lab Program