Vinit Parida was born in India and while growing up, the family moved around the entire country because of his father’s job.
“My father, Aditya Parida, was employed in the Indian Army and was stationed at various locations. In 2002 he received an offer to come to Luleå University of Technology as a lecturer. For several years now he has been a professor at the university in operating and maintenance technology.”
After completing his studies in Delhi, Vinit Parida and the rest of the family moved to Luleå, where he studied in the master’s program for Business Administration.
“I thought it was superb that there was a master’s program in English that was both interesting and gave me a broader knowledge. At that time, I was not really sure what I wanted to do with my life and it was not a foregone conclusion that I should continue in the academic world.”
Over time Vinit thought about his future career, he got a position as a research assistant in fluid mechanics.
“They had a project in hydropower that needed someone who could inventory all hydropower educational programs in the world, and based on the results, create material to promote and market the project. It ended up being published in a scientific journal, and for me personally, it was an early success and a good lesson in research conditions.”
In 2006 Vinit Parida began his doctoral studies in the subject of Entrepreneurship, where Håkan Ylinenpää was a professor.
“I worked on how small and medium-sized companies can be more innovative, and what role the ability to use information technology and the ability to create and use a network plays. Since there are several small and medium-sized companies in northern Sweden, I examined how they use information technology to gain a competitive advantage. Since this topic, with focus on entrepreneurship was a new subject at the university, it led to my continued research.”
In 2008, Vinit had a unique opportunity to be the first researcher from the Entrepreneurship program to start researching at Vinnova Excellence Centre’s Faste Laboratory, where he focused on areas such as business models, risk management and open innovation to help Swedish manufacturing companies switch to selling functional products.
“I think this shows the strength of the strong research area Efficient Innovation and Organization, and that different research areas can work together and utilize joint experiences. The Faste Laboratory saw a need to have a researcher who was not an engineer to take advantage of the commercialization of various projects.”
Vinit Parida has also worked with the Centre for Interorganizational Innovation Research (CIIR), which is also a Vinnova Excellence Centre, where he conducted research on how innovation works in communities with limited resources.
“Agricultural machinery is one example. About 40-50 years ago, in the western world, it was the farmer’s son who repaired the machinery when it broke down. They invented smart things that made the machines work better. This is not how it works today. In a research project in India, we are examining ways to be innovative with limited resources. How innovation can be taught without resources. Can innovation be used to move away from, for example, slum areas.”
The project results from India can be applied to companies in the western world that are receiving less and less funding for research and development, but at the same time are expected to be innovative.
“I think there is much to learn from having limited resources to spend. And by saying to students taking our courses, ‘you have this limited availability of resources to be innovative’, we may get to see exciting results.”
In the future, Vinit Parida will continue with research collaborations in the fields of engineering as well as social sciences.
“This interdisciplinary cooperation is unique for Luleå University of Technology, and we have great opportunities to address future challenges and opportunities,” concludes Vinit Parida.
Vinit Parida also teaches undergraduate and graduate programs and supervises postgraduate students.