Nordstrom’s Disruptive Labs Approach to Designing Innovative Experiences

A Flash Build might sound like implementing an Adobe media platform, but the Nordstrom Innovation Lab gave the phrase new meaning with a unique approach to developing ideas. Think Flash Mob for developers, and the Innovation Lab pioneered the Flash Build concept in 2011 when they took a local store by storm with their disruptive experience design concept. With immediate feedback from real customers and salespeople, the Nordstrom Innovation Lab team was able to create an intuitive and useful app with a truly delightful customer experience.

Fast forward one year to Delight 2012, where we were lucky enough to hear firsthand from some of the bright minds at the Innovation Lab. In the video above,  five members from the multi-disciplinary team talk about the experiences at the Lab since the experiment.

As the team shares their insights on what makes their agile team so efficient, and even loops the audience in for some one-on-one chats, one thing is clear: innovations are surprising, and unexpected.


About the Nordstrom Innovation Lab

Nordstrom has had a commitment to improving the service experience and innovating to evolve with our customers since our founding in 1901. Many of the most successful parts of our businesses were discoveries from developing close relationships with our customers. The Innovation Lab was created with a simple mission, “be fast and fascinating.” We use a design-led innovation process that is human-centered. We learn from our relationships with our customers, generate ideas, build, and test them to validate discoveries. Our goal is to learn at a smaller, more nimble scale, in order to support the creation of larger experiences that surprise and delight our customers and help us become their retailer of choice.

Read our interview with the team for more background.


  • In technology, first to market is rarely the ultimate winner. Have you worked much lately on your Osborne PC