Andreas Larsson
Andreas Larsson

Andreas Larsson

POSITION

Associate Professor (Docent) in the research subject Functional Product Development. Holds a position as Research Associate.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) - Andreas C. Larsson

Recent book contributions

My biography in summary. Click to expand. (Wordle.net)
My biography in summary. Click to expand. (Wordle.net)

BIOGRAPHY

Andreas Larsson (AL), born 1976, received his B.Sc. (1999) and M.Sc. (2000) degrees in Computer Science with emphasis on Human Work Science at Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden. As part of his educational program, he spent six months at the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition at University of California, San Diego.

He earned his Ph.D. degree (2005) in Computer Aided Design at Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, where he subsequently held a position as a Researcher. During his professional career, Dr. Larsson has also held a position as a Project Coordinator at the LTU Office of External Relations (2006), and has visited BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre in Bristol, UK (Nov 2004 - Dec 2004), and Hosei University’s IT Research Centre in Tokyo, Japan (Dec 2006 - Mar 2007), as a Research Fellow. He spent January to June of 2008 as a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University's Center for Design Research. In September of 2009, he was awarded the Docent (Associate Professor) title.

With a multi-disciplinary academic background, spanning the fields of Human Work Science, Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering, his research approach borrows from all these fields to seek to better understand and address some of the particularly pressing challenges that face both local and global innovation teams in the highly competitive business climate of today. Inspired by the ethnographic tradition, he usually embarks from empirical investigations into the everyday work practice of individuals and teams working with product development at our industry partners in Sweden and across Europe. The research activities fundamentally aim to establish a strong relation between a deep understanding of engineering work practice and the design of appropriate, useful technologies and methods that can truly support engineers working primarily in the early stages of functional product development, often in the context of globally dispersed teams. One particular focus is to understand and support social aspects of engineering collaboration, meaning that he tends to direct his attention to situations in which people exchange information, knowledge, experiences and ideas with other people – where technologies and methods are used as mediators of the social process of ‘doing engineering’.

At the core of his research agenda is to create a rich blend of needs-motivated research activities dealing with cross-functional knowledge sharing, local and distributed teamwork, and participatory innovation. These three interests can be summarized in the overarching aim to support product developing individuals, teams and organizations in effectively and efficiently sharing knowledge across a wide range of boundaries (i.e. teams, organizations, cultures, languages, time zones, etc.) His research activities are heavily user-centric, including a strong preference for needfinding, scenario-based design, and other methods and approaches that serve to include end-user perspectives throughout the whole development phase.

An area of particular interest is how to adapt lightweight technologies (i.e. wikis, blogs, tag clouds, mashups) to better serve the knowledge sharing needs of global product development organizations of the Virtual Enterprise kind – a field of research which he has chosen to coin ‘Engineering 2.0’ (see below).

In a Functional Product Development perspective, knowledge from later phases of the Functional Product life-cycle (i.e. production, maintenance, recycling, etc.) needs to be used as a knowledge foundation in the earlier phases of the development process. It is most advantageous to make changes at the preliminary design phase, since it will become more expensive, more difficult, or even impossible to compensate or correct the shortcomings of a poor design concept in the late design phases. In order to provide Functional Products that truly meet the full range of life-cycle demands and needs, it is highly important to investigate how downstream knowledge could be modelled and simulated (when previous knowledge does not exist), captured (when previous knowledge exists) and made available to improve early-stage decision making in cross-functional teams. Key aspects include how to make structural knowledge capital of the human knowledge capital available internally and externally, and how to make sure that these knowledge assets can be effectively shared across organizational and departmental boundaries.

The main objectives of the work is to investigate which methods and tools might be suitable for improving the ‘knowledge baseline’ from which new Functional Product Development projects can start. The research focuses particularly on knowledge that currently resides outside of the ‘traditional’ scope of product development teams. Such knowledge is referred to as ‘downstream knowledge’, since the main interest is to identify and utilize knowledge assets that normally would not enter the scene until after a design concept has already been selected. An important aspect of these knowledge assets is that they can be found in a wide range of professional domains – both within the own company, and at customers and partners. Thus, the research seeks to address how boundary-crossing teams across the extended enterprise can decrease the start-up time for new product development projects by rapidly identifying and effectively utilizing a shared knowledge base from day one (i.e. rather than starting from ‘scratch’). Also, it needs to address how these various teams can successfully create, share and utilize ‘generic’ knowledge (i.e. making sure that the knowledge assets they create are easily available to other teams in the extended enterprise, regardless of what domain of expertise they are working in.) For example, the same fundamental knowledge assets might be used for the purposes of both product development and opportunity management, but since there are different competencies involved with different goals and motivations, it is crucial to be able to share structuralized knowledge on an adequate level of detail or abstraction depending on each particular setting; raising questions of how to assess the maturity and readiness of the organization’s knowledge assets and capabilities.

The work builds on the assertion that lightweight technologies show serious potential when it comes to effectively sharing knowledge between actors partaking in product development in a Virtual Enterprise. Here, the term ‘lightweight’ fundamentally means that such technologies require little time and effort to set up, use and maintain. Also, they are lightweight in that they do not impose a pre-defined structure, but rather lets structures evolve over time as an almost organic response to the activities, practices and interests of the knowledge workers that use these technologies as part of their everyday work. Since this work draws it context from the fields of engineering and product development in primarily business-to-business situations, these lightweight technologies can be summarized in the term ‘Engineering 2.0’, which specifically targets how emerging digital platforms and Web 2.0 approaches could benefit globally dispersed engineering teams, working in business-to-business contexts of the Virtual Enterprise kind.

Further, Andreas Larsson is one of the main designers of the new 12 MSEK collaboration and research studio at Luleå University of Technology (‘Experiment Studio’) that was inaugurated in May 2008. This facility is a key enabler in his work in the domain of knowledge-based and team-based innovation across distance.

Another topic of great interest is that of ‘Radical Innovation Workshops’, which he is organizing and facilitating in both academic and industrial settings, most recently at Sandvik Coromant, Volvo Aero Corporation, ABB, and CASTT (the LTU Center for Automotive Systems Technology and Testing).

He is the Principal Investigator for "Redesigning Innovation", a joint research project with Stanford University’s Center for Design Research in the domains of design research and team innovation. This initiative is co-financed by the Kempe Foundations. He is a Global Foresight Scholar at the Center for Foresight & Innovation at Stanford University. He is the LTU project leader for CRESCENDO (see below) and FETTC (se below). He is part of the PIEp EDU Lead Team.

CURRENT PROJECTS

  • Redesigning Innovation (together with Stanford University)
  • PIEp (together with KTH, HJ, LTH, UmU, CTMH)
  • FLUD (together with Volvo Aero and Volvo IT)
  • CRESCENDO (together with 59 partners from the European aerospace industry)
  • FETTC (together with Volvo Construction Equipment and Linköping University)

PHD SUPERVISOR

  • Koteshwar Chirumalla, PhD objective 2013
  • Åsa Kastensson, PhD objective 2013
  • Johanna Wallin, PhD objective 2014

OTHER

  • Co-founder of the Design for Wellbeing framework, a joint research project together with Stanford University, USA, and Hosei University, Japan.
  • The CONEX stipendiate of 2005 and recipient of SEK 25000 for his efforts within computer aided product development.
  • Main designer of an intranet that was recognized as one of the "Ten Best Intranets of 2001" by the Nielsen/Norman Group (Intranet Design Annual 2001).