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Ann-Sofie Däldehög stands in front om a whiteboard, talking to a group of people.

Norm critique boosts innovative power

Ann-Sofie Däldehög works with sustainability issues as a business developer at the RISE Regional Transformation Unit in Hudiksvall. Her area of expertise is inclusion and norm-creative innovation, which is about using a norm-critical perspective to become aware of norms that can be excluding and trying to find new, innovative, more inclusive ways of working. “Often, my job is to ask the difficult questions so we don’t get stuck in old norms and ideas about what things should be like,” she says.

Regardless of whether the project is focused on environmental, economic or socially sustainable development, much of the work revolves around questioning norms that limit our opportunities to think and do things in new ways. The concept of norm-creative innovation is about turning norm-critical analysis into practical solutions that contribute to a more equitable, socially sustainable society of diversity, with different ways of being and doing things. 

“We need to be aware of norms and preconceived ideas that could limit us when, for example, we set up a new project group, recruit talent or develop a new service. As a leader, there is responsibility for creating a dialog in day-to-day life about norm critique and highlighting issues that focus on inclusion. Things like, how do we communicate about a project? Who gets the attention? How do they get the attention? By increasing awareness of norms, like unspoken rules or expected behaviors based on a person’s age, gender, background etc., new ideas are born, we get more creative teams and a better workplace culture,” she says.

Ann-Sofie’s work consists of everything from project management and business development to running trainings and communication activities. All of it is based on the needs of customers and partners. 

“My own training and education is as a media and communication scientist, which is extremely useful to me in my profession. Much of what I do involves inspiring and training leaders in such things as sustainable development, inclusive leadership, the UN Agenda 2030 for a sustainable society and sharing best practice. Often, my job is to ask the difficult questions so we don’t get stuck in old norms and ideas about what things should be like.”

RISE is a workplace that offers me many opportunities and skill development in a variety of areas. To a large extent, I also get to decide for myself what to focus on.

Working with her passion 

Ann-Sofie says that the opportunity to influence, the variety of assignments and the possibility to work with what she is passionate about, is the best thing about her work at RISE.

“I get to work with what I’m passionate about, which is things that contribute to a more inclusive, sustainable society, while also learning a lot from my competent colleagues. No task is like the other, which is very exciting. RISE is a workplace that offers me many opportunities and skill development in a variety of areas. To a large extent, I also get to decide for myself what to focus on. At our unit, we work with many challenges that involve everything from the digital transformation of production, to finding new, circular business models that contribute to sustainable development,” she says.

What makes you curious?

“Warm, genuine people usually have an exciting story to tell!”

What is the best innovation of all time?

“Public daycare. It is an innovation that has enormously impacted Sweden’s evolution into a modern, industrial country.  Many people think that innovation only relates to technology or gadgets. Things you can touch. But that limits our way of thinking about what an innovation is. Maybe we miss opportunities because of our stereotypes about what a true innovation really is?”

Help us make the world a little better

Passionate problem solvers come together at RISE. We need more sharp minds who want to join us in solving some of the world’s most pressing, and perhaps most exciting, problems. Do you want to join us? Take a look at our open job positions.

Published: 2022-05-12