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Untapped Innovation Capacity within Ordinary Employees Work-activities
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
2011 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This case study shows the existence of potential untapped innovation capacity within employees' ordinary work. Purpose of identifying untapped innovation capacity is to involve a broader participation of employees into innovation-work in order to increase innovation-efficiency in companies. The case study was conducted at one Swedish SME where four participating employees were interviewed and observed when doing their ordinary work. Communication via i.e. e-mails, conversations and phone-calls were identified in 32% of the 267 documented work-activities and is suitable as work-activities when searching for i.e. innovative opportunities, suppliers etcetera according to innovation models, which could contribute to innovation and done by anyone at any department. Future research is suggested to develop and test if communication-based work-activities where innovation-cognition could be added to employees when communicating in their ordinary work with purpose to contribute to an overall innovation-work. The benefits would be that more employees easily could contribute to innovation work by being aware of innovationissues while communication as usual in their ordinary work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-13509OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-13509DiVA: diva2:466049
Available from: 2011-12-15 Created: 2011-12-15 Last updated: 2013-01-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Innovation groups: Before innovation work is begun
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Innovation groups: Before innovation work is begun
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This research project was begun during the financial crisis of 2009 with the objective of increasing the competiveness of SMEs’ (Small and Medium sized Enterprises) by developing their innovation-management capabilities. The research presented in this licentiate thesis (thesis) is a part of the project in which newly-formed innovation groups at two SMEs in Eskilstuna, Sweden have been studied before they began innovation work.

Prior research has indicated a need to observe processes within on-going innovation projects. My overall hypothesis that reaches beyond this thesis, is that an innovation group that improves its innovation-related knowledge, reduces knowledge gaps and increases innovation-related awareness, generates positive additional values such as motivation or enthusiasm above the results such as patents or project costs that are traditional measurements within innovation projects.

The first study in the iterative research process focused on the innovation-related knowledge of newly-formed innovation groups. The results led to further immersed studies, in total five case studies, in which 21 respondents participated. A theoretical framework consisting of theories from Knowledge management and System theory was used to analyze the results and the research question of this licentiate thesis emerged as: “What would a model that describes a newly-formed innovation group’s innovation-related knowledge, knowledge gaps, information flow and awareness look like?” Four sub-questions, one per each aspect of the research question, have been used to analyze prior research, theories and the conducted case studies.

A model, Innovation Group Model (IGM), was created according to the research question and goal for this thesis. A one-sentence-explanation could be: “The organization, the innovation group and the individuals must have the opportunity to be motivated to learn innovation management in theory and practice to achieve innovation-readiness and awareness to detect and utilize innovation-related information available within the internal and external information flow.”

This thesis contributes to the research area of Innovation and design with knowledge concerning newly-formed innovation groups. Three practical applications of the research results are suggested; (1) IGM can be used in organizations to understand the complex situation when an innovation group is created. (2) IGM can be used when planning for physical or virtual environments in which an innovation group consisting of professionals and customers is intended to develop or generate ideas. (3) IGM can be used when developing innovation-related audits intended to provide a deeper understanding of a respondent’s knowledge.

On the basis of the results from this licentiate thesis, I suggest further research according to the overall hypothesis. With IGM as a starting point, one could study the progress of innovation groups and where necessary, provide support in specific areas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2013
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 164
Keyword
innovation management, innovation group, innovation team, innovation work
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-17990 (URN)978-91-7485-102-1 (ISBN)
Presentation
2013-02-28, Filen, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-01-23 Created: 2013-01-21 Last updated: 2013-01-29Bibliographically approved

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