What is the real value of innovation?

Lighting Metropolis recently invited all our partners to an ‘innovation day’, hosted by the City of Malmö, to discuss best-practices and typical traps to avoid. One of the presenters was Jonas Klevhag, Business Coach & Strategist at Innovation Skåne.

We put our questions to him.

LM: Everyone’s talking about innovation right now, why do you think that is?

JK: Innovation is seen as a valuable survival strategy for many organisations. But it’s also becoming a bit of an overused and overhyped word unfortunately. Because like any other trendy word it also risks becoming untrendy at some point, and that would be a real shame. It’s too important for that. The same goes for words like sustainability and diversity, for example.

LM: What’s creativity to you?

JK: Creativity is to have a framework, and then to play constructively with it. An innovative solution must also have a purpose, a vision that is realised. It’s important to allow yourself to make mistakes, as long as you have that vision clear in your mind.

LM: Is there in your view a limit to the level of innovation that an organisation can deliver?

JK: The level of innovation for any organisation is partly framed by the time perspective, but equally important is the margins you have to play with. Innovation is a game of calculated risk, and the higher your margins are – the higher the chances of a return on that investment.

LM: What are the typical traps in an innovation process?

JK: Often, the team focuses too much on their obvious competences and declared interests, rather than seeing the potential need value from the perspective of the main stakeholder, i.e. the owner of the actual problem to be solved, then mapping out that potential and what kind of scenario the solution should lead to.

LM: You often refer back to the quantification of value, why is that so important to you?

JK: Because people too often tend to mainly value the originality of the actual idea. But the real value must be the value of that idea when applied. Quantification of value is more rare in public institutions, in my experience. To go a bit further, in terms of innovation, I like to provoke people by suggesting that all employees should spend about 5% of their working time to come up with ideas that make themselves redundant. But, in reality, most organisations tend to create structures that aims to keep status quo.

Jonas-Klevhag2Jonas Klevhag, Business Coach & Strategist at Innovation Skåne.

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