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Idélaboratoriet is a consulting company specializing in creativity and innovation. Idélaboratoriet was founded in 2000.

Idélaboratoriet works in the field of creativity and innovation. We create value for our clients for example through innovation strategy planning, facilitation of creative processes, training programs in professional idea creation and implementation of digital idea management solutions.

Idélaboratoriet is Swedish for The Idea Lab.

Idélaboratoriet was founded in Sweden and has its headquarters in Malmö in southern Sweden, but works with clients worldwide.

Idélaboratoriet likes to say that creativity is a process of getting original ideas that have some sort of value and innovation is the profitable implementation of creativity.

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#28 The Swedish Stars of Innovation

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The Serious Innovation Newsletter # 28

IKEA and Ericsson are the stars in the Swedish’ sky of innovation. IKEA because of its innovative distribution system, its splendid and simple business idea and its continuous customer focus.  Ericsson on the other hand has a strong product development focus and an innovative mindset in general, all according to the top managers of Swedish multinationals interviewed in a survey made by the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Cap Gemini. The general thread of the top ten ranked companies was that they continuously made benchmarking studies concerning innovation, that they had developed innovation metrics for their own situation and that they had idea management software base to stand upon. Furthermore the survey showed five different findings that are both interesting and in some way alarming when you look at the Swedish innovation horizon…

Key Finding 1: Prioritizing Innovation.

Despite that the survey shows that the Swedish leaders has a very fragmented view of what innovation is and can be and that the top levels often have quite different opinion on the definition of innovation than the middle managers – everybody seems to think that innovation is the top priority! Another thing they seem to agree upon is that of all the existing forms of innovation, the most important one with the most potential in the near future is service innovation. Not really a strong area in the Swedish innovation history…

Key Finding 2: Lack of Methodology.
Based on history most of the companies consider themselves very able when it comes to a specific kind of product innovation (think about the old “inventor-Sweden” built upon a couple of great innovations in companies like Tetra Pak, Ericsson, Astra etc), but lack the ability to handle innovation on a more broad holistic perspective covering the whole organization. The companies claim that they are not well equipped when it comes to a systematic approach to innovation and also miss different forms of methodology. Hmmm… big problem!

Key Finding 3: Hard To Manage Innovation.

To understand, decipher and lead this concept of innovation seems easier said than done. The ”absolute truth” about innovation does not seem to exist and this fuzziness puzzles the Swedish managers (often with a strong scientific engineering background where everything should according to a specific structure) and leads to different states of paralysis.

Key Finding 4: Inspiration Must Be Structured.

The leading innovators in the study points at two different success factors in spreading the sparkling torch of innovation as missionaries in the organizations: the concept of innovation for their own situation must be clearly stated and the whole initiative must have clear structure that gives the employees a vision and a mission to be creative within. Once again – innovation is not creativity mixed with chaos without a cause, but creative chaos with a clear strategy.

Key Finding 5: Engaged, but with tunnel vision.

All the interviewed bosses seemed very focused on working with innovation, but many seemed tuned in only on technological breakthroughs which has created a problem of tunnel vision (even though many says service innovation is the future..). For example are often no-tech areas of innovation handled with technology focused methodologies – to run TRIZ for service innovation is the same thing as using the Russian art of engineering to create a new Body Shop. I think Anita Roddick would not even understand a fraction of TRIZ – and she did not need to!

Apparently a lot of the Swedish companies are still taking their first stumbling steps into areas of innovation that has not been their livelihood for the last fifty years. And ranking the copycat of IKEA as the number one innovator sends kind of funny signals in a way. But let’s hope they dare to journey into unknown territory. And let the pioneering struggle of innovation continue!

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