How does innovation happen? Some form of this question is frequently asked. Sometimes I respond with describing the elements of the body of knowledge contained in the New Product Development Professional (NPDP) certification from PDMA or the Certified Innovation Leader (CIL) credential from AIPMM. In doing so, connecting to real examples makes “how does innovation happen” more tangible. One example is Nordstrom’s innovation lab. In the video below, Nordstrom’s shows how they setup a product development center in a Nordstrom store for one week, resulting in an iPad app to help shoppers purchase sunglasses. There are several good lessons in this short video – customer centered design, concept testing, rapid prototyping, field testing, time boxing innovation, and more. What is missing is on the front and back end — how and why the initial ideal was chosen and an assessment of the value of the product. It is an impressive demonstration of what can occur with a small team in only a week.