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Assessment and Support?: AiR - A Pilot Project on Support Systems for Innovation in Automation Industry
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2597-8561
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0012-7127
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
2015 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Various methods to assess innovation are used in companies and organizations. Audits provide little support for day to day use and few explicitly address how companies can benefit from the audit results in terms of e.g. how to learn, formulate goals and operationalization. Based on a concrete example, this paper explores how innovation assessment can be considered a tripartite audit process designed to support learning and give an increased cultural support for innovation. In the paper the audit process will be discussed from the perspectives of what, who and how. 'What' address the tool and assessment area, 'who' focus on the people that participates in the assessment process and 'how' on the very assessment execution. The awareness of the notion 'innovation' among the 70 industrial companies in the Automation Region Network in mid-Sweden are typically low, and as a response to that a pilot study project Automation Innovation Region (AiR) started in 2012 to develop support for innovation. During one year 2014/2015, employees in five companies (N=44) participated in the study. The project developed a process, AiR Innowatch (Innowatch), combining a photo-based workshop on innovation, three workshops with themes on innovation climate, a web based weekly assessment tool, and a quarterly survey. The tools focus on innovation culture (what), the process highlights reflection, learning and integration (how) on assessment results from the perspective of individual, group and organisational (who) perspective. The goal was to design a learning based audit process that supports the companies to independently continue their work for increased innovativeness after the formal assessment process. This paper present the tools developed and the results from the pilot study as a base for discussion on auditing as a tool that supports learning and development of an organisational culture for increased innovativeness in established organisations. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. p. 103-112
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-33448DOI: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.06.415ISI: 000380509900013OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-33448DiVA, id: diva2:1039219
Conference
World Conference on Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, MAY 28-30, 2015, Istanbul, TURKEY
Available from: 2016-10-21 Created: 2016-10-21 Last updated: 2019-12-13
In thesis
1. Exploring Purposeful use of Innovation Self-assessments
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring Purposeful use of Innovation Self-assessments
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Innovation management is a multidimensional practice characterized by the requirement of a constant renewal to maintain an organization’s relative innovativeness. A practice highly characterized by a requirement to handle uncertainty, risk, and long lead times, which requires an active management of both the prerequisites of today and a yet-undefined future. Therefore, it is of little surprise that the so-called “innovation audits,” with their purpose of direct or indirect improvement are often considered a vital part of innovation management practices. This thesis focuses on the internal self-assessment use of such audits by organizations to self-assess their current state of innovativeness against indicators of good practice or their own prior state. The purpose of such innovation audits is to reveal gaps between the current and desired state, which the organization can use to develop improvement activities.

Substantial empirical and theoretical research on innovation audits exists, which focuses primarily on the development of the audit itself, but seldom on enacting audits that lead to desired improvements. Much innovation audit research discusses the areas to assess and the development of different types of indicators, statements, and framework, which represents these assessment areas. The problem is that no matter how well the indicators identify possible improvement areas or gaps between current and desired states, it still says very little about integrating retrieved information into activities that actually lead to the desired improvements.

This thesis takes a process perspective on the undertaking of an innovation self-assessment audit (ISA). Rather than examining what to assess and how to use the result, it focuses on the undertaking of an ISA as an improvement process in itself. The overall objective is to contribute to the understanding of why a purposeful use of ISA emerges (or does not emerge). To this end, this thesis collects empirical data about ISA use and its context from qualitative case studies, involving 14 self-assessment groups from 9 different organizations. The findings from these studies is presented in the six appended papers that address different perspectives on ISA use and contextual prerequisites.

To better understand why a purposeful use of ISA emerges (or does not), it was necessary to bring the appended papers together and undertake a more focused discussion on ISA use as a process in its entirety. Therefore, this thesis recontextualizes the six appended papers against a new theoretical framework based on theories on processes, complex adaptive systems (CAS), and competence-in-use.

The theoretical discussion in this thesis offers several contributions. First, by approaching the undertaking of ISA as an improvement process, it focuses on the continuity of the process, which in turn allows a distinction between the execution of the process and the enabling of this execution. Second, the enactment of purposeful use is related to knowledge about the focus area of the assessment (e.g. innovation culture or capabilities) and the current state being assessed. Together, these create the basis for the theorization of a four-dimensional ISA competence-in-use that impacts how ISA can be purposefully enacted. Overall, the main reason why purposeful use emerges (or does not) does not seem to be so much about having a high ISA competence-in-use, as having high correspondence between expectations and competence-in-use.

Together, this contributes to an increased understanding of why purposeful use emerges (or does not), making this its primary contribution within the field of innovation management. The focus on self-assessment use as an improvement process embedded in the organizational context it intends to improve, does give a more general relevance to the discussion on improvement processes, and the use of self-assessment audits outside the field of innovation management.

The contribution of this thesis is closely related to the use of ISA and can be used to support the process of planning and undertaking an ISA. This thesis also contributes to knowledge on ISA competence-in-use, which can guide practical choices in undertaking an ISA for more purposeful use.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Eskilstuna: Mälardalen University, 2020
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 305
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-46325 (URN)978-91-7485-454-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-02-13, Filen, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-12-17 Created: 2019-12-13 Last updated: 2020-01-13Bibliographically approved

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