Welcome Andreas Larsson, Associate Professor!
We welcome Dr Andreas Larsson to us. Andreas is an Associate Professor starting at BTH from May 1, focusing innovation and collaboration with a base in Product Development Research Lab, Department of Mechanical Engineering, but operating with entire BTH and society in focus for his innovation work. A previous BTH alumni returning home…
Who are you and what is your background?
I grew up in Jämjö outside of Karlskrona, and my higher education actually started at Blekinge Institute of Technology, where I completed a Master’s degree in Computer Science with emphasis on Human Work Science (the People, Computers and Work programme). After that, I lived ten years in Luleå, part of which were spent earning a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering on the topic of how to improve collaboration in globally distributed engineering teams. During that period, I also did post-doc stints at Stanford University in the US and Hosei University in Japan. I became an Associate Professor (docent) in 2009, and from 2010-2014 I was responsible for the Innovation Engineering research subject at Lund University’s Faculty of Engineering (LTH). Since September 2014, I am working half-time as Innovation Advisor and Case Manager at the MSF Sweden Innovation Unit (Läkare Utan Gränser / Médecins Sans Frontières), a position that I will combine with a half-time position at BTH from May 1. I recently moved back to Karlskrona with Lenita and our two children, Ella and Anton. We are really looking forward to reconnecting with this awesome city and contributing to making it even more awesome in the future.
What has been your research and educational focus?
Ever since I studied at BTH between 1996-2000, I have had a very strong passion for how to strengthen the link between human needs and the design of innovative products, services and processes. This means that I have focused primarily on the earliest stages of innovation, among other things helping people to develop deep empathy with users and other stakeholders, and then use those insights as inspiration for ideation and implementation. I would say that both my research and teaching has been focused on developing innovative capabilities so that individuals, teams and organizations are better prepared to observe unmet needs, create innovative ideas to meet those needs, and turn those ideas into products, services and processes that people actually will love.
What will you work with at BTH?
I am interested in improving the innovation capability of BTH students and faculty, in close collaboration with partners from industry and society, so that BTH can further strengthen its position as an applied research and education institution that creates value “in real life”. My primary objective would be to facilitate the creation of innovators, rather than innovations. This means that my main focus is not to source innovative ideas, incubate new ventures, or protect and license intellectual property, but instead to support the development of a range of innovative capabilities and skills that will fundamentally change the way that BTH students, faculty and corporate partners collaborate to tackle real-world challenges.
In practice, improving the innovation capability involves plenty of hands-on activities, including workshops, bootcamps, and collaborative projects to help participants develop creative confidence, an innovative mindset, and practical innovation skills while designing innovative solutions to real-life challenges. The activities will cut across university faculties, across industrial sectors, and across societal domains. It’s a highly collaborative approach that leverages the innovative capability of BTH students and staff through creative partnerships with industry and society.
What shall we expect from you?
You can expect that I will keep innovation at the heart of everything that I do. Thinking big and transformational will always be important to me, although I also believe in the importance of starting small and taking practical action. This means that while I will prioritize big problems and big ideas in search for innovation, my work will be heavily focused on finding effective ways of putting strategy into action – continually experimenting with new ways of introducing innovation into the DNA of BTH and our partners in industry and society. Don’t expect me to come in with solid answers about “what works”, but together we will figure it out.
You can expect to be exposed to, and preferably involved in, a range of hands-on innovation-oriented activities throughout the academic year. Making innovation happen is not a task for the selected few, it’s a lot about bringing together diverse perspectives and expertise to “connect the dots” – making new connections between seemingly unrelated information. You can expect me to act as a facilitator and broker that makes connections between people, challenges and ideas.