Innovation is difficult, especially for large, established companies, which often are – very logical - organised according to an entirely different rationale than the one needed for innovation. Therefore, how innovation efforts can be organised and pursued constitutes a major challenge for many companies. This also is focus for this project. The project is in collaboration with four large companies, and the researchers hope to contribute to bringing about changes. The project also will result in a book directed towards practitioners that will provide other companies with good examples of how they can build up their capabilities for innovation.
The project focuses on the development of innovation capabilities in large industrial firms. Innovation generally is difficult, especially for large, established industrial firms in comparison with smaller start-ups. Among other things, that is due to the fact that they are organised according to an entirely different rationale. Their structures and processes are set-up towards efficiency, which means there is little room or any path for deviations, which innovation is If you look at a list of the world’s most innovative companies, the large, established firms are conspicuous by their absence in favour of the smaller and newer ones. But large firms need to innovate as well in order to survive in the long run. In this context, it is important to underscore the difference between R&D (Research & Development) and innovation. Research, in particular, differs from innovation, although within politics as well as within the business sphere, there is a tendency to equate them, which hinders actually working with innovation. Nor is innovation capability the same thing as creativity or having a creative climate – factors that also are important but far from sufficient.
The project is funded by the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA), and in collaboration with Mölnlycke Health Care, Stora Enso Hylte Bruk, Tetra Pak and Volvo Cars. The project builds on a collaborative research approach where - jointly with the firms – the search for new knowledge about innovation capabilities and how these are built is in focus which we call ‘co-creation’. The project is organised so that there is a separate collaboration with each company, and a set of ve a number of activities for experience exchanges.