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Innovation management in collaborations

When several actors want to collaborate in order to create renewal and innovation, the question of "How?" may be challenging. Innovation management in collaborations, meaning systematically and systematically leading, organizing and supporting innovation work, then becomes an enabler for working together towards a common aim.

There are often high ambitions of bringing several actors together in order to collaborate on creating renewal and innovation as a response to societal needs. In such work, there is an imminent risk that innovation efforts become too fragmented and episodic, hence, not building the desired innovation capabilites and long-term effects. Innovation management in collaboration is about systematically supporting co-creation and thus creating a shift from an intention to a real value. This means helping actors to replace established working methods and systems (technical as well as organizational) with new working methods and systems with the aim of creating novel and relevant values. System changes which in turn require learning processes on individual, group and organizational level. RISE can contribute with well-established knowledge and applications around leading and organizing innovation work, i.e. innovation management, with a systems approach.

Systematic and systemic

The system approach means that the renewal and innovation work takes into account technical, organizational and cultural contexts that both limit and support changes sought for. Renewal is driven by learning that influences leadership, strategies, roles and responsibilities and contributes to the development of skills and responsibilities. Renewal is evaluated on an ongoing basis through the follow-up on indicators to ensure that we steer in the desired direction.

Innovation management in collaborations

Several structures, initiatives and programs are launched with the aim that many participating actors will co-create renewal and innovation. These initiatives can have different set-ups: initiatives with a clear connection to governmental financing, international collaborations, larger national associations that engage several actors towards a common goal or initiatives that origin in societal challenges linked to regional and local development. For all these examples, an orchestration is required that takes into account the needs, ambitions and opportunities of all the involved actors. It can be actors from different sectors but also at different structural levels such as society, organization and individual. This orchestration requires an ability to ensure that opportunities are seized while challenges and risks are managed. It is also necessary that strategic work is supported at the same time as flexibility and a culture encouraging innovative work are built in. Innovation work in collaboration is characterized by collaboration in exploring needs and opportunities, creating and evaluating new concepts and implementing these solutions and innovations in relevant contexts.

Innovation management competence may be explicitly desired, or even, required in larger initiatives and programs where several actors must work together to achieve a common goal. Such efforts should then be well anchored in knowledge of how innovation work is appropriately led and organized, and using a systems approach in order to reduce the risk of possible sub-optimization in the various planned activities.

Ingrid Kihlander

Contact person

Ingrid Kihlander

Senior forskare

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