Mariona Sanz, former innovation manager at Acció, is leading the project with the support of the CEOs, Mercè Girbau and Pere Girbau, the general manager of the group, Guillem Clofent, and the president of Lead to Change, Xavier Marcet.
The aim of Girbau LAB is to go a step beyond Girbau's R&D activities and opt for the most disruptive innovation, in order to generate more value for its customers with innovation as its driving force and cornerstone. Girbau LAB therefore wishes to be close to where the knowledge, technology and innovative business opportunities are generated and at the same time to stimulate the development of new internal capacities.
Mercè Girbau, CEO, is convinced that the initiative will enable Girbau to "gain in efficiency and competitiveness, helping our customers build their business through differential value, at the same time creating an ecosystem for innovation that enables us to stay in touch with knowledge, technology and talent, so adding to Girbau's industrial baggage."
Girbau LAB is being set up as part of the 2020 Strategic Plan based on growth, adaptation and people. Thanks to its research, development and innovation efforts, Girbau expects its turnover to grow by €20M (the company currently invests around 4% of its turnover in R&D). Girbau LAB also aids adaptation to the major changes faced by the laundry business and Girbau, and acts as a mechanism for creating an environment in which it is possible to develop and attract talent.
Girbau LAB works in two directions: on the one hand, in-house it works to generate ideas for meeting the challenges currently faced by the business, so promoting intrapreneurship. In this respect, 2018 has seen successful completion of the iDrivers project, an internal call for proposals which has received 60 business ideas. Work is under way to turn 5 of the ideas into future business or help to improve existing business.
On the other, Girbau LAB also searches actively on the market for new technologies, solutions and firms that can generate new business opportunities for Girbau. One example is the Indtech Challenge, an initiative by Girbau and Seidor launched last June, to forge collaborative relations with start-ups to find solutions involving digital transformation of the laundry business. The results are to be presented at the IoT World Congress 2018 from 16th to 18th October in Barcelona.
Girbau LAB is constructing its ecosystem in collaboration with key innovation players, including different universities and technology centres and business clusters, and by taking part in innovation-related programmes run by ACCIÓ and Creacció. Collaboration is also being explored at international level, and visits to San Francisco and Israel are planned, to establish contacts.
Girbau LAB is a member of Barcelona Tech City, an association of entrepreneurs, companies and players on the digital scene in Barcelona, and carries on some of its activities in the Pier 01 building developed by this association.