Title: Creativity and knowledge creation in lean organizations
Participants: Anders Richtnér, Anna Brattström
Summary:The research project 'Creativity and knowledge creation in Lean Organizations' focus on two research questions: 1) How can a lean and a highly efficient organization characterized by being 'flexible and agile' maintain the ability, and create opportunities, for employees to be creative and to develop and disseminate knowledge? 2) What are the facilitators / obstacles for knowledge creation, knowledge sharing, and creativity (within and between projects; within and across business areas)?
Title: Making innovation flow – an exploratory study of lean and innovation
Participants: Anders Richtnér, Mattia Bianchi, Pär Åhlström, Ryusuke Kosuge
Summary: The main question we are trying to answer in the project ’Making innovation flow’ is: can we apply lean principles to innovation work? In fact, an inherent contradiction may exist between lean and innovation: on one side, the principles of lean like just-in-time and jidoka allow developing efficient business processes by pushing managers to focus on customer needs, by means of waste elimination, standardization of activities and elimination of variation; on other side, innovation is a peculiar process (rather different from the manufacturing processes where Lean is traditionally applied), one that thrives on variation and serendipity, builds on the creative job of skilled individuals and delivers unpredictable outcomes.
Title: Lean & IT – Exploring the contradiction
Participants: Magnus Mähring, Pär Åhlström, Ryusuke Kosuge, Lotta Hultin
Summary: The main thrust of this project is to develop new theoretical and actionable knowledge on how to support the lean organization through smarter use of IT. Two of the most common ways for organizations to improve operational efficiency are initiatives to implement lean practices and investments in information technology. ‘Lean’ has become an established approach to business development, whereas IT investments constitute half of all corporate capital expenditures worldwide. But ‘lean’ and ‘IT‘ are uneasy companions that build on differing and partly contradictory principles of organizing: Lean implies continuous, local and often small-scale change and improvement, while IT investments typically are large-scale, one-time initiatives. Once implemented, IT tends to make processes automated and rigid. Thus, companies that are good at ‘lean’ often seem to use less IT support for key operative processes, or use IT differently than other firms. Our study explores this contradiction and how it can be overcome. Using surveys and case studies, we aim to explore: 1) How does the tension between lean practices and information technology manifest itself in practice?; 2) In what ways do organizations employing lean practices strive to overcome these tensions?; 3) How can the relationship between ‘lean’ and IT use be understood and characterized theoretically?; 4) Can organizations overcome the contradiction and use IT to support the implementation of lean practices, and if so, how?
Title: Developing Managers and Business through Change Projects
Participants: Pär Mårtensson, Lars-Olof Lychnell
Summary: The purpose of this research project is to advance the understanding of how managers and businesses can be developed through change projects. The research project is conducted with a clinical perspective in close cooperation with several organizations, including Swedish Television (SVT) and Unilabs. One aim is to explore how different designs and settings for controlling and supporting change projects can improve learning within and between the projects.
Title: Competitive realization of products and services in industrial change
Participants: Åke Freij, Malin Schmidt, Martin Sköld
Summary: The research program consists of three parts. One is focusing principles of realization of synergies in industrial groups. Questions to answer regards balancing individual brands with group common objectives, and considerations for developing product platforms. Another study is focusing how changes in regulations and policies affect capabilities for innovation. The challenge is to remain competitive while regulators change premises for competition. A third is to develop frameworks and conceptualizations of service platforms in service companies.
Title: Technology spin-off venture
Participant: Mattias Axelson
Summary: Ideas, technology and product concepts that never make it to market are common in all large companies. Does it mean that all those resources that are stopped or just vanish in the product development process were useless? Few would answer yes to that question. Yet, many companies may have great potential that never is explored because they lack adequate processes to spin-off their technology assets. This research project addresses the issue of capturing value from technology spin-offf by building and selling a new company.
Title: Innovation partnerships
Participant: Mattias Axelson
Summary: External partners increasingly become influential for companies innovative capacity. The individual company serving the end-customer has to manage partnerships with network of suppliers, customers and even competitors in order to develop new products. In many industries, such as automotive and aerospace, 80 to 90 percent of the value creating activities and resources are outside the company meeting the end-customer. This development demands new skills of management. The overarching issue addressed is what characterizes effective management of innovation partnerships.
Title: IT-outsourcing from an innovation perspective
Participant: Mattias Axelson, Jon Rognes
Summary: Outsourcing of IT-systems and organizations is common in industry as well as public organizations. The major driver is often opportunities for improved cost efficiency. Commonly IT outsourcing is characterized by standardization and well defined service level agreements. This outsourcing logic works well in stable environments. However, since IT outsourcing commonly have five-year horizon or longer much can happen. To deal with change in competitive environments it is necessary to be innovative. This causes a dilemma, because the logic of innovation in many ways contradicts the logic of outsourcing agreements. The consequence is conflict between customers and supplier and lack of innovation. The research explores management solutions to this dilemma – IT-outsourcing that achieves both cost efficiency and innovation.