It all started with a tap on the shoulder: “Hey, we’re going to do an innovation lab and you’re going to do it.” That’s how Scott Emmons describes how he got his role as the head of Neiman Marcus’ innovation lab in 2012. “That’s it. It was very exciting; also kind of scary.” The innovation lab, dubbed iLab, was one of Michael Kingston’s first big ideas for the luxury department store retailer. Kingston had just joined Neiman Marcus three weeks earlier as its new CIO, and Emmons didn’t really know him yet. No boundaries were set on the project in the beginning, but the longevity of the project rested on finding success. Though Kingston has since moved on from Neiman Marcus, the iLab and Scott Emmons have stayed put — and innovation has become both a story of success and failure. After all, innovative probably isn’t the first adjective that comes to mind when you think of department store retailers. The struggling department store space today is beset by challenges such as falling foot traffic, consumer demand for faster fashion and mounting debt issues. Neiman Marcus itself is on shaky ground, recently pulling plans for a long-awaited initial public offering and reporting its Q1 revenues fell 7.4% over last year as a result of dwindling traffic. Read more at Retail Dive.