In the media

Swedish organisations must change how they innovate

By Miriam Istner

24 May 2017

Read the full article in Swedish

In their new research, PA Consulting Group has identified four characteristics that successful organizations have, which allow them to achieve a higher return from their innovation. They are:

  • Focusing on the future: the ability to welcome revolutionary ideas, including a forward-looking leadership style.
  • Innovative working methods: the ability to scale-up innovations that work, and scrap ideas that don’t work.
  • A culture of innovation: an insight into what skills are required, and the ability to attract and retain the right skills over time.
  • Innovation networks: the ability to take into account new ideas outside of their own organisation, which sometimes comes from different sectors.

These four traits were discovered as part of a new global study from PA, which surveyed 821 business and government executives.

The study found Swedish organisations generally perform well, with 68% stating they're good at scaling-up their innovations, and 72% saying they do well at shutting down projects that aren't working. It´s also clear Swedish organisations have a strong innovation culture - 92% state they've defined the skills they need for their innovation.

And when it comes to working with innovation networks, 82% say they're successful when they bring in innovation from outside. But on the downside, Swedish organisations aren't as focused on generating revolutionary ideas and groundbreaking innovation.

According to Per Blom, PA innovation expert, this indicates Swedish organisations are more focused on the short term. They're well equipped to meet gradual developments and competition, but risk falling behind when it comes to more revolutionary innovations.

He says: "I think many Swedish organisations are putting more of a priority on short-term innovations that have a clear impact on how they interact with their customers and conduct their business cost-effectively. A focus on more ground breaking innovation, which can lead to major changes to the core business, is likely to require more input from management."

The study reveals 66% of global respondents state their organisations will not survive without innovation - but only 24% indicate they´ve defined the skills and activities required to be innovative.

In addition, 50% believe their management lacks the ambition required for innovation to take place. And 37% of respondents say their organisation has made no, or minimal changes, to its innovation strategy. Per says this is "quite astonishing" and that some organisations need to "innovate how they innovate".

But despite these challenges, Per is optimistic: "When compared with other countries in the study. Sweden is well placed, which is great news."

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