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GeoMarketing reports that Starbucks is building a 20,000 facility in Seattle that “will house its TRYER Innovation Center,” described as “a combination of a makers space and a Starbucks store where everybody who works at Starbucks can come down and test their idea.”

At the SxSW conference in Austin, Texas, Brent Cashell, TRYER’s director, said that those ideas can range from “a cool idea for a new drink or a payment process, and then collaborate with others to figure out how that’s going to work in the real world.”

“Innovation is one of those things where it’s really easy to use the name and the buzzword and it’s really hard to define what it is and what is the purpose of it,” Cashell said. “Let’s think about it this way: the purpose of a shovel is not to have a metal spade and a nice long handle and to be strong and look great in a shed. The purpose of a shovel is to dig a hole. So the purpose of running innovation at Starbucks is not so that we simply have something cool or launch something to get attention for its own sake. The ultimate goal is to have something that matches what your consumer actually needs, wants, and has an emotional connection to.”
KC's View:
That’s a sentiment worth repeating - that innovation has to be connected to the customer experience in both tangible and intangible ways.