How we do it

We work with three groups of activities that mirror the three tasks of contemporary university missions. We invite external stakeholders and involve all kinds of personnel internally, to provide an interactive context for addressing the needs and challenges of society.

  • Joint research with a clinical approach
  • Commissioned education and life long learning
  • We share knowledge to innovate.

Collaborative research projects

We have been running research projects in collaboration with industry since the mid 1990s and have a substantial catalog of completed programs. Today, we run several projects together with our corporate partners in many areas connected to innovation and change. These projects can be short (half a year) or long term (up to four years), can include senior professors and students, have scientific ambitions or be aimed primarily at helping solve direct issues.

Current research projects include:

  • The future of food. One recent research program focuses on the development of the global food industry in light of macro factors such as technological transition, sustainability and more. We make scenario analyses and discuss possible strategies for all players in the value-chain, including farmers, manufacturers, transporters, retailers and consumers.
  • Disruptive technological challenges in the auto Industry. We have two programs connected to the automotive industry: one on inter-firm collaboration for the development of software solutions for so-called autonomous drive, and one on innovation and diversification across automotive technologies.
  • R&D organisation for innovation: one prominent concern for competitive firms, big and small, is access to and organisation of cutting-edge R&D in all instances of the Discovery – Development spectrum. In this project we work with the paper packaging industry to determine possible approaches to the organisation of in-house and external R&D.
  • Entrepreneurial teams: We engage in in-depth studies with so-called “entrepreneurial teams” who operate intra- or inter-organisationally with innovation and product/service development. Partners are found among both large and small firms and one research area is precisely the collaboration between large and small firms.
  • Social entrepreneurship & innovation: A recent focus area concerns the question of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in relation to pressing social matters and needs. Our faculty members are active in the community and make a strong impact on society as they become practically involved with entrepreneurship activities in areas under social and economic stress, where, perhaps, financial ingenuity is key along with strong networks.
  • Immigrant entrepreneurship: One related area of research focuses specifically on the entrepreneurial activities of immigrants and refugees, and the particular factors and issues that might occur in this context, such as funding and networking. These are parts of society for which entrepreneurship and self-employment are the only viable option to generate an income.
  • Early venture challenges: Thanks to a substantial donation, we have recently been able to recruit an entire research group, with professors, post docs and PhD students, to focus exclusively on early venture financing challenges, and the special demands put on ownership in the first steps of corporate lifecycles.
  • Sustainable architecture: This includes studies of the work among architects to change their business models to cater for a more sustainable architecture, in the form of energy consumption, materials, construction logistics, standards adherence and more. This project is carried out together with some of the major architecture firms in Sweden.
  • Innovation & standardisation: As part of a long-lasting project on the consequences of standardisation, we study the role of standards in innovation – a role that is quite positive, typically for both consumers and investors.
  • Innovation & cultural stigma: In this project we study the impact stigma might have on innovation. Particular focus is on menstruation products (MHP), pads and tampons, a product group which has typically been neglected historically, when it comes to innovation and safety standardisation. This project involves a range of stakeholders in the MHP sector, as well as consumer bodies, government agencies, and standardisation organisations.
  • Network consumption and IoT: Over the years, we have had several projects aimed at estimating the future global consumption of networks, together with large Swedish telecom actors. Over time, this has gradually moved over to become a focus on the Internet of things (IoT) and on AI/ML.
  • The digitalisation of the security industry: Since 2006, we have studied the transition from analogue to digital in the commercial security industry. Our partners include large, global players in different positions of the analogue and digital value chains. We have undertaken research on interfirm alliances, organisational change, technology management, knowledge management, and the impact of camera surveillance on society.
  • Academic entrepreneurship: The research focus is at the intersection of university-industry interaction and the strategic use of intellectual property rights. We have a special interest in how policies, programs, and relationships between academia and industry can be designed to accelerate the productive role of universities in the entrepreneurial ecosystems.
  • Corporate governance and innovation: innovation efforts typically require bold employments of resources and energy, which in turn demand the active participation not just by management teams but by boards and even owners. Investments, connections and the organisation of business are among topics on the decision agenda.
  • Global search for science: we study the international collaborations between multinational companies and academic researchers in foreign universities. We highlight the main motivations that lead companies to establish international linkages with universities, the type of scientific knowledge that they are after and the ways in which these international collaborations are established. Naturally, we also look at the impact of collaborations on new knowledge creation by the MNCs.
Detaljbild av en whiteboard, med studenter sittande runt bord i bakgrunden. På tavlan står det "the bigger picture". Foto.

Commissioned education

We run several courses and programs, tailormade or open, with industry and public agencies. These typically center upon matters connected to strategic change and innovation. Below are some examples of what we do but we are flexible and can swiftly put together courses based on specific needs.

  • Strategic innovation management for sustainable industrial development. The course focuses on changes needed to navigate in the new competitive landscape and is aimed primarily at medium-sized companies from different sectors.
  • When relationships count: an executive course on the management of R&D partnerships. Here, we focus on inter-firm and intra-firm relations for product development and successful commercialisation of innovation.
  • Organising for innovation and entrepreneurship. A course where we work with how firms become relevant in future competitions, and focus on how to build, maintain, and develop structures suitable for innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • From invention to organisation. Most ventures start with an innovation and a great deal of passion. The goal, however, is to establish an organisation that can turn that innovation into sustainable profit, and which exists over time, independent of the initial inventor. Here we discuss some of the most important decisions and dilemmas entrepreneurs face as they work to create a sustainable new venture.
  • Innovation and internationalisation of startups. An important prerequisite for companies that want to expand their business is to internationalise their activities: collaborate with foreign partners, find customers in other countries, establish foreign operations and distribution channels, protect their inventions at a global level and possibly find international investors. This is especially true for young companies in countries with a relatively small domestic market, such as Sweden.
  • Building trust across organisational boundaries. Startups and SMEs are often dependent on collaborations with big companies for their survival and growth. At the same time, we know that many such collaborations fail to deliver the intended results. Trust is one of the most important factors behind sustainable partnerships but building trust in a business-to-business context is not always easy.

Co-creation

One of our main activities is the ongoing interaction with industry, agencies and NGOs. This takes the form of talks, workshops, seminars, trendspotting sessions, social get-togethers and more centered upon contemporary topics of interest to a wider audience. We do this both openly and in direct interaction with select partners, at our or partner facilities or in video conference format.

Current examples include, among others:

  • Life Science startups, a seminar series aimed to learn more about sustainable growth and building trust from invention through internationalisation.
  • We also include our students and let them work on assignments in case format together with partners. Currently they work with questions such as how one can design a digital platform where companies can exchange collected data about society with each other to increase the benefit to society?

We have several more events in the pipeline, and are flexible in relation to requests from partners. We include our network partners of course, but also our own and guest professors, as well as students.

Contact

Thomas Kalling
Professor

thomas.kalling@fek.lu.se
Phone: +46 46 222 46 38
Room: Alfa2:4035

Lottie Norrsén
Business and industry coordinator

lottie.norrsen@fek.lu.se
Phone: +46 46 222 68 21, +46 70 424 83 21
Room: Alfa1:1065

Last published: 2021-04-23