Except for the fact that its windows sported dozens of multi-colored post-it notes, nothing distinguished La Victoria Lab’s home from its residential, Lima neighbors. A casual passer-by would hardly know that the modest two-story house constructed in the same mid-20th century style as the rest of the surrounding buildings housed the innovation center for one of Peru and South America’s largest conglomerates, Intercorp.
Presenting an altogether different face to the world, Intercorp’s headquarters, a 22-story, post-modern swoop of dark glass and steel, rose above an expressway in a neighboring district. When Hernan Carranza was setting up the lab in 2014, Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor, the CEO and chairman, offered him coveted space in Intercorp’s headquarters, but Carranza declined. He wanted the lab to exude a family atmosphere that would make his “labbers” feel safe to explore and innovate. He also wanted to locate the lab in a building that reminded his colleagues of Intercorp’s target customer, the aspiring middle class of Peru.
To build the innovation center, Carranza assembled a small group of designers, anthropologists, architects, and social entrepreneurs. The idea was rather novel; innovation centers were not a feature in Peruvian companies. Working with IDEO, La Victoria Lab created policies and procedures to inspire creativity and explore new avenues of thought. Over the next five years, the innovation center took on many roles, especially spearheading the digital transformation of Intercorp's various businesses.
By 2020, LVL’s role within Intercorp had evolved. While initially conceived of as an innovation lab in the model of IDEO, the lab had taken on different types of challenges, from doing deep investigations of customers to helping businesses formulate their vision statements. But was this adaptability and constant evolution a sustainable mission or should the lab define and create deeper expertise? Some thought the lab should just focus on helping companies tackle their short-term challenges, others wanted it to explore opportunities outside the mainstream. How should they choose their projects and execute upon them? How best could they demonstrate their value to the holding company?
Publication Date: April 10, 2020
Citation: Victor Padilla-Taylor, Jaan Elias, Rodrigo Canales, "La Victoria Lab," Yale SOM case study 20-027, April 10, 2020.