Westfield London Innovation
Westfield London does not have a separate innovation department. It rather utilizes the URW Lab for fostering innovation and coping with changing trends and scenarios. The URW Lab also works to achieve the URW group's 2030 CSR strategy.
- Westfield Corp. established Westfield Innovation Labs for innovation and data analytics. The company acted as the digital arm of the company until early 2018.
- In Feb 2018, Westfield announced that the Westfield Innovation Labs was being spun off as a limited assets company named OneMarket. The move was a result of the merger between Westfield Corp. and Unibail-Rodamco.
- The company OneMarket acted as an independent digital platform until recently, when it was announced that OneMarket will be liquidated. The company assets will be distributed among shareholders.
- The reason for this move was said to be the unavailability of physical assets and pressure from investors.
Westfield London's Innovation Culture
- After merging with Unibail-Rodamco and becoming Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW), the new retail giant started to make use of URW Labs for innovation. URW Labs was launched in 2012, to ensure that "promising ideas receive the dedicated resources they deserve."
- URW Labs also has an open innovation platform called URW Link. The platform seeks to enable start-ups, corporates, retailers, NGOs, and many others to work in conjunction with the URW group.
- URW Labs' mission statement is "not only to create value for our visitors and shareholders today but also to invent the places and experiences for shopping and working of tomorrow."
- URW Labs' vision for future is an ambitious one, in lines to "foster the creation of hybrid, sustainable, highly desirable places" This vision is reflected in their “Better Places 2030” CSR strategy.
- As found from the URW Registration Document 2018, the URW Lab does not have a separate governing body. It does have a separate overseeing team of Directors and Managers.
- The innovation lab comprises of 8 core governing team members, highlighted on their website. These are:
- Julie Villet — URW Lab and CSR Director
- Jean Collet — URW Link Director
- Arthur Eschmann — URW Lab Strategy Manager
- Valerie Jacob-Hoarau — URW Link Manager
- Thais Elrich — IGP Innovation Analyst
- Juley Lebarbey — Mixer Executive Assistant
- Dimitri Reynaud — Innovation and VC Analyst
- Simge Sandal — Innovation Project Manager
- The URW Innovation Lab along with its open innovation platform URW Link has undertaken many approaches to foster innovation.
- They organize Innovation days in each region to keep the URW employees up to date with the latest innovation.
- They also organize “Innovation Champion Graduate Programme.”
- The Lab also makes available the spaces dedicated to innovation like the "Mixer" (URW's Innovation Center).
- They also make available courses to all employees to educate them on new innovations.
- The lab also tries to understand and analyze the current market environment and the world "in which URW operates."
- The lab is also responsible for transforming the URW group from inside to cope with the changing trends and scenarios.
- URW Link has helped 23 start-ups up-till FY 2019, ten of which had CSR ambitions.
- URW Lab helped URW to launch "the first omnichannel platform in a test at Vélizy 2."
The specific budget allotted to the URW Lab for innovation and the decision-making process was not found during our research on Westfield London's Innovation culture. We utilized the company website, its sister websites, and URW Lab's website primarily. We found information related to their vision and mission, as well as their corporate structure through the website. However, the website was not rich in specific budget-related data, nor was it intent on the decision-making process.
Next, we scanned the URW Annual Report for specific budget-related information. However, the only URW Lab related information found was that URW Lab helped to launch "the first omnichannel platform in a test at Vélizy 2."
We then searched for specific interviews and interrogations with the core team members of the URW Lab to find if they even briefly mentioned their decision-making process or approximate budget. We searched on prominent news sites (such as The Guardian, The Sun, The Times, Daily Mail, Innovator News, Entrepreneur, and InnoCentive) as well as video sites (such as YouTube, Vimeo, and CNBC) for written or video interviews. We found interviews with Julie Villet on the searched websites, however, the interviews contained no desired information regarding the innovation budget and the decision-making process of URW Lab.
We then attempted a press scan, to find the budget and the decision-making process of the URW Lab. We searched through credible news sources like The Guardian, The Sun, The Times, Daily Mail, Innovator News, Entrepreneur, and InnoCentive. We also searched through international news sources like the Wall Street Exchange, Harvard Review, and the Financial Times, specifically for budget-related information of URW Lab. However, most of the results of the press scan were related to the groups' innovation projects and new undertakings. The results also mentioned the fluctuations in the shares of the URW group. However, the desired results related to the budget of the URW Lab and the decision-making process were not found.
We finally concluded that the budget and decision-making process of the URW Lab may not be available in the public domain.