Lisa Carlgren gets Wallander Stipend

Lisa Carlgren has recently received the Wallander Stipend for her research on design thinking (DT), which deals with how companies can find inspiration for their innovations in the way designers think and work. The stipend gives Lisa 1.5 million crowns, which finances three more years of research.

Congratulations, Lisa! How does it feel?
– It feels great, what else! First of all, I am proud that my research won the tough competition for the stipend. I wrote it under incredible time pressure, because it is entirely based on the studies I performed after my Licentiate in 2011. I also see this as a support for my research group, which includes Maria Elmquist and Ingo Rauth. It tells that our DT research is at the forefront and is relevant.

What does the stipend mean for you?
– It means enormous freedom and stability. I don’t need to depend upon any financing when it comes to the direction of my research, but can choose the topics that I find most interesting for further study. One of my colleagues told me that ”you are not going to get that free again till you retire” and such opportunity should be used sensibly. The stipend also gives me an opportunity to continue working with Ingo, Maria and the research center CBI, Center for Business Innovation, which I am looking forward to. It can also mean visits to foreign universities, such as Stanford D. School, where DT is an important area.

What kind of work are you going to do?
– My research is based on the studies of American and German companies that use DT, an innovation approach inspired by the way designers think and work. At the moment I am interviewing people at Ericsson, which replicates one of my studies. Now I have got an opportunity to continue researching the connection between design and innovation capability, but I have not yet decided whether it is going to be cooperation with those companies that I studied or whether I am going to look at some entirely new ones. I have got a couple of ideas that I am going to take a closer look at, for example, connection between what happens at the strategic level and at the grass root level, and how companies integrate DT into their existing processes and methods. I would also like to develop and test a tool that assesses the use of applying DT based on innovation capability theories.

What are you hoping to arrive at as the result of your studies?
– My goal is to develop applicable knowledge on implementing DT in Swedish companies. Our research so far has shown that DT as a way of work can contribute to increased innovation capability, but that it can be difficult to introduce in large companies. I hope that my results will support companies that wish to implement DT  in identifying structural obstacles as well as opportunities to adapt and  integrate DT to the context of the specific company. At the same time, I am not religious when it comes to DT and my goal is not to push through a particular concept they have not asked for. It is quite possible that I am gradually inflating the concept, but the content deserves to be further researched.

 

Facts
Lisa Carlgren has a PdD in Technology management and works for the Division of Innovation Technology at the Institute for Technology Management and Economics at Chalmers. She is also associated with the Center for Business Innovation (CBI).

 

Text: Caroline Örmgård
Translation: Gothia Translations AB
Photo: Nils Kumar

Published: Tue 16 Dec 2014. Modified: Wed 03 Jun 2015