Global Affairs Canada

InnoLAB Suite Self-Serve

Innovation is agile

The InnoLAB Suite provides all departmental employees the opportunity to self-serve, incubate and fast-track small-scale projects.
What is innovation?
Innovation is about implementing new ideas to create value for an organization. Innovation is a new idea, more effective device or process. Innovation can be viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs. This is accomplished through more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments and society. Success factors that contribute directly to an innovative development environment are:
  • Light
  • Fast
  • Small
Why innovation matters?

Innovation pushes the organization to improve its efficiency and effectiveness. In the organizational context, innovation may be linked to positive changes in efficiency, productivity, quality, competitiveness, and market share. However, recent research findings highlight the complementary role of organizational culture in enabling organizations to translate innovative activity into tangible performance improvements. Organizations can also improve profits and performance by providing work groups opportunities and resources to innovate, in addition to employee's core job tasks.

Barriers to innovation

Programs of organizational innovation are typically tightly linked to organizational goals and objectives, to the business plan, and to market competitive positioning. One driver for innovation programs in corporations is to achieve growth objectives. As Davila et al. (2006) notes, "Companies cannot grow through cost reduction and reengineering alone... Innovation is the key element in providing aggressive top-line growth, and for increasing bottom-line results"

Conversely, failure can develop in programs of innovations. The causes of failure have been widely researched and can vary considerably. Some causes will be external to the organization and outside its influence of control. Others will be internal and ultimately within the control of the organization. Internal causes of failure can be divided into causes associated with the cultural infrastructure and causes associated with the innovation process itself. Common causes of failure within the innovation process in most organizations can be distilled into five types: Poor goal definition, Poor alignment of actions to goals, Poor participation in teams, Poor monitoring of results, Poor communication and access to information. Here are some typical barriers that hinder innovation:

  • Lack of dedicated staff
  • Lack of innovation strategy
  • Disinterest from learning from failure
  • Emphasis on process, not desired outcome
  • Culturally resistant to change
Our proposal: The GAC InnoLAB

Empowering employees to bring their ideas to life. The InnoLAB Suite provides all departmental employees the opportunity to self-servce, incubate and fast-track small scale projects. Our four (4) offerings:

  1. Self-serve
  2. Incubate
  3. Hub
  4. Fast-track
  1. Staff: Innovation lead, engagement/CRM officer, team leader, tech leader, innovation technicians, crowd source. Esseentially, zero net growth required.
  2. Autonomy: Requires decision making authority to accept and prioritize work.
  3. Investment: 100k investment for software, cloud services, FSWEP, consultant. Note that if any external resources are required, SID will cost recover.

It all starts here

Well designed software stems from well articulated ideas. Apps should help users attain their goals in a satisfying manner. This is where wireframing and prototyping play an important role. The initial design of application's user flow, user interface and overall user experience can be executed through a multitude of development software and basic tools. The idea is to create a proof of concept with the highest fidelity possible before actual software development. Here are tools that will enable our partners to begin the process of software creation.

All software presented below have instant feedback and collaboration features to contirbute to continuous improvement of this phase of app development.

Wireframing and prototyping
An excellent cloud-based app that will help you design low-to-high fidelity mockups. With a wide array of UI libraries, interactions, animations, and collaboration / feedback features, this app is easy to pickup overall.
  • Pricing: $160/mo for 10 users up to 30 projects.
  • Drag and drop UI components
  • Collaboration and feedback features integrated
  • Test on actual devices available
  • Animations and interactions (hot spots)
  • Export to images, PDF and html for presentations user interface


Prototyping, communication and testing
Intuitive tool that can be used to prototype at lo or hi-fi, enabling partners to communicate design iterations and provide instant feedback during testing.
  • Pricing: $490/year, unlimited users and projects.
  • Drag and drop UI components
  • Hot spots
  • Wireframe view (zoom out)
  • Collaboration and feedback features integrated
Fluid user interface

Visualize information, efficiently

Information and data is everywhere in our day and age. We are looking to make sense of this. Decision-making has become a fact-based process. Software like IBM's Watson intelligently digest unorganized data to help experts make the best decisions they can. Similarly, we can use more basic software to perform data-mashing quickly and visually.

Tableau Public

Data visualizations made easy
With open data, information is readily available to the public. Making sense of this data is what counts, especially when defining tools that shape this data in the right direction. Tableau is a simple desktop app that does just that.
  • Pricing: FREE
  • Drag and drop data
  • Import open data in familiar formats such as CSV
  • Share information easily
Tableau user interface

Wireframing and mind-mapping

Software contains numerous features that need to be sorted in a hierarchy while ensuring proper flow of the app. Here are some software options that can help partners put their ideas in a diagram format.

Google Slides

Mapping ideas in a familiar way
Google Slides offers proper drawing tools to create simple mind-maps with the abilitiy to link elements together and setup a UX flow. Live collaboration and instant feedback make this popular tool a great option for basic wireframing.
  • Pricing: Google Apps pricing for $5/user/mo
  • Familiar tool for all users = PowerPoint
  • Collaboration and feedback integrated
Google Slides user interface

Graphic Design Tools

High-definition prototyping using graphic design software to present a polished version of the application which will be produced by the SID development team.


Vector design software
Illustrate high definition app prototype mockups using state of the art vector design software tailored to produce app views which will become the style guide for developers.
  • Pricing: $99 per license
  • Lightweight vector design software
  • Easily create graphic assets for development team at various resolutions
Sketch user interface


High definition UX prototyping tool
Illustrate high definition app prototype mockups using state of the art vector design software tailored to produce app views which will become the style guide for developers.
  • Pricing: $89 per month
  • Workflow and collaboration tools
  • Continuous and instant feedback
  • Video recorded feedback of testers and users
  • Version control, protoype sharing
  • Mood board designs, branding overview
Invision user interface