Today we had twenty-five participants from different sectors across the country providing us with enormously valuable feedback on how to set up, organize and direct a nationally coordinated function for innovation management. The entire day was interesting, intriguing, informative and worthwhile.
Note: We have purposely abandoned the term “node” as part of the title, so as a working name we are currently calling it the IMX, where it stands for Innovation Management X – and where the “X” just represents a place-holding variable.
The RISE innovation management team that we represent have been working for more than a month to prepare today’s workshop. The main purpose was to understand how the “market” would prefer for a national node (X) to be organized, financed, supported, and what services it would provide. By market we mean representatives from all possible stakeholders in such a function. The ones who attended the workshop today, as defined and invited by the team, were representatives from:
- Large companies.
- The public sector.
- Consultants / intermediaries.
- National authorities.
This gave a very diverse, but also a very complete picture of the various interpretations of such a role. As interests diverged, so did also our understanding of the kind of mediating character this function will have to dress up as. But even if many perspectives were spread out, just as expected, there were also a lot of recurring, common issues that were addressed.
As there are many fears to creating a beast of this magnitude, it also offers a lot of opportunities for the stakeholders. Most of the key issues that were raised were reversed to functions that are essential for the success of this endeavor.
- Neutral. It should not be too commercially driven, because perceived greed may oppose trust.
- Credible. It should be mandated. Preferably by the government.
- Networked. It should be a platform for connecting interested stakeholders with each other.
- Systematic. It should work systematically and utilize a transparent methodology.
- Decentralized. It should have local and regional functions across the country, preferably in collaboration with local universities.
- Coordinating. It should harmonize resources and competences in appropriate directions.
- Awareness raising. It should support the innovation management community by communicating the relevance of innovation to the public (using credibility).
- Opinion-forming. It should drive a normative dialog utilizing its networked resources.
And note that these are just fractions of the take-aways from a very productive work day.
What the IMX team will do now is condense the results and distill them into strategic goals and a measurable roadmap for the IMX. In practice this means setting the vision, mission, objectives, etc, while simultaneously and continually taking all stakeholders’ interests into account. We will also have to detail out the market approach, fine-tune the concept, decide on a marketing plan, and all such things. The final result will eventually be presented to the RISE steering committee in the middle of June. If all goes well – and there certainly seems to be market drivers verifying it – then hopefully an IMX function will be launched before the end of the year to surve the Swedish industry and public sector with the latest knowledge and prime services through leading suppliers in innovation management.