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Photo: Melina Granberg
Sofia Larsson, Senior Researcher at the Interactive Institute in Piteå. Anna Mård, project leader in cleantech in Pitea Science Park. Malin Lindberg, Associate Professor of Gender and Technology at Luleå University of Technology. Photo: Melina Granberg View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Model creates innovations across industries

Published: 11 November 2016

A model for innovation work in processes where completely different industries, sectors and actors will be met has been developed in a research project at Luleå University of Technology. The focus is on gender, diversity and inclusion. The collaboration includes the Interactive Institute in Piteå and Piteå Science Park.

Today there are many methods of innovation work, but these tend to be very focused on a single company and are often based on technical product development in a male-dominated industry.

– This excludes both people on the basis of gender and industry, in the innovation work, says Malin Lindberg, Associate Professor of Gender and Technology at Luleå University of Technology.

Future innovations need everyone's perspective

Along with Luleå University of Technology wanted Interactive Institute in Piteå and Piteå Science Park examine how inclusive innovation projects can arise from three different industries: energy and environmental technology, IT and cultural and creative industries. The result was a model that has already been used in new project applications.

– We wanted to find out what methods that are needed in order to include diversity issues in a natural way throughout the innovation process, and prevent it from being a separate thing, says Sofia Larsson, senior researcher at the Interactive Institute.

Concretely, it may be about how the invitations to an innovation workshop are designed.

– If the pictures show white businessmen of a certain age and with a certain dress it signals that innovation takes place within a specific area which are not linked to other, despite the fact that innovation is about rethinking combinations of different needs and perspective, says Malin Lindberg.

Malin Lindberg also believes that the choice of words is very important. Powerful business expressions like innovation and engine for expansion can be excluding, as they are concepts that not everyone can identify with.

– This project is about creating opportunities for meetings between different people and between different industries. The interesting thing occurs when you include other views or perspectives which does not feel so natural, concludes Anna Mård, business developer of cleantech in Pitea Science Park.

The project was funded by the Interactive Institute in Piteå, Piteå Science Park, as well as by Enabling ICT at Luleå University of University. Anna Edin, Visiting Professor of Media and Communication Science at Luleå University of Technology, has also participated.