Business school's innovative iLab brings ideas to life

December 28, 2017

Spider Pride

It’s no secret that Richmond’s campus is stunning, but step inside any of our famous brick buildings and you’ll find the heart of our school. 

Just look at the new iLab in the Robins School of Business. Every aspect of the “idea lab” is intended to foster the innovation and collaboration that is already brimming inside our students’ creative minds.

The space was designed after visits to a variety of innovation spaces, including startup companies in New York City. Those spaces inspired such features as Skype-ready screens with cameras and microphones, the ability to link any device to several different displays, movable furniture to accommodate meetings both small and large, and digital whiteboard walls that can send notes and sketches as a PDF.

“UR has invested in many spaces for student growth, exploration, and learning,” says Doug Bosse, associate professor of management. “We have exceptional spaces for visual arts, music, theater, science, and finance. The iLab is set up for students who want to collaborate to develop and exchange ideas that may solve a wide range of problems for society.”

Robins School Dean Nancy Bagranoff says today’s business environment calls for graduates who are both creative and analytic. That makes the iLab a strong complement to the school’s other signature space: the Lessing Trading Floor

But above all, the iLab is a space for collaboration — between business students and faculty, across schools and disciplines, and with community business leaders. That’s why the iLab is primed to play host to venture pitches, job interviews, and investor meetings.

“Many of our older business and social enterprises are being disrupted today,” Bagranoff said. “The new iLab, where the ‘i’ can stand for ideas, imagination, inspiration, and innovation, provides a setting where new ideas are encouraged and take root. We wanted a space that was inconsistent with our usual look and feel and that would be futuristic, with state of the art technology.”

We know our students are full of ideas and we can’t wait to see what starts to take shape in the iLab.

Read about the iLab's opening