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Innovation groups: Before innovation work is begun
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering. (Innovationsledning)
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 [en]
innovation management, innovation group, innovation team, innovation work
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-17990ISBN: 978-91-7485-102-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-17990DiVA: diva2:596149
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
List of papers
1. Interview Supported Innovation Audit: how does a complementary interview affect the understanding of an innovation audits results when the interview is based on the audit statements
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Interview Supported Innovation Audit: how does a complementary interview affect the understanding of an innovation audits results when the interview is based on the audit statements
2010 (English)Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

SMEs tend to lack the ability of sustainable development through cost-effective and repeated innovation. One way to find out a current innovation state is to run a self-assessment innovation audit, which are well used but got critics to not show reliable results The authors formed research question: How might a complementary interview affect the understanding of the result of the innovation audit when the interview is based on the same statements used in the audit? The study was conducted at two Swedish SMEs with a mix of management and personnel. 21 respondents at both companies answered 840 audit-statements and equal amount of interview questions rephrased from a “how-perspective”. 4 audit-statements were left blank and 103 interview questions were answered, “I don't know”. A great differ in the understanding appeared and the conclusion was that a selfassessment innovation audit might not show reliable results conducted without a complementing interview.

Keyword
innovation audit; interview support; SME; method; gap
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-13129 (URN)
Conference
ISPIM - International Society for Professional Innovation Management
Available from: 2011-10-13 Created: 2011-10-13 Last updated: 2015-06-26Bibliographically approved
2. Existence of negative innovation-gaps affecting innovation performance in two Swedish SMEs.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Existence of negative innovation-gaps affecting innovation performance in two Swedish SMEs.
2011 (English)Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper aims to achieve a deeper understanding of innovation-gaps, found in a previous study according to innovation-audits made by the authors to this paper. Negative innovation-gap is of interest as they might affect innovation-performance within companies and further on Total innovation management (TIM). TIM is a holistic view of innovation, involving a broad representation of employees and functions for which the innovation-gaps could be crucial. This study was made at two Swedish industrial SMEs, 1170 written questions asked to 18 employees, 12 workshops held with two company-specific-groups and one company-mixed-group with senior management. The major findings were “organisational related innovation-gaps”, “individual related innovation-gaps” and several subgroups to both of them, e.g. conflicting incentives and time-related-gaps. The conclusion is to not try to categorise the gaps, but to be aware of them when practicing innovation management, as gaps, when become too big, seems to affect innovation-performance in a negative way. Keywords: innovation workshop; SME; innovation-gap, innovation management; innovation-gap analysis.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-13666 (URN)
Available from: 2011-12-15 Created: 2011-12-15 Last updated: 2015-06-26Bibliographically approved
3. Untapped Innovation Capacity within Ordinary Employees Work-activities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Untapped Innovation Capacity within Ordinary Employees Work-activities
2011 (English)Conference 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.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-13509 (URN)
Available from: 2011-12-15 Created: 2011-12-15 Last updated: 2013-01-24Bibliographically approved

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