Photo of hangers and the woods symbolising a sustainable fashion

The position in the innovation ecosystem can affect a company's innovation capacity

How can the understanding of one’s position in a knowledge-intensive innovation ecosystem improve the innovation capacity of a large established company? This was the main theme of Erik Gustafsson's inspirational lecture on Knowledge-intensive Innovation Ecosystems for Södra Innovation.

Photo of Erik Gustafsson
Erik Gustafsson

Erik Gustafsson is a Postdoctoral Researcher and Wallander Scholar at the Unit for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and at the Centre on Knowledge-Intensive Innovation Ecosystems (U-GOT KIES), at the University of Gothenburg. In mid-November, he gave a lecture to parts of the Innovation department at the Swedish forest industry group Södra.

Erik argued for the importance of understanding one's role in the wider innovation ecosystem to improve the ability to innovate. This by drawing links to innovation as a concept and his own research on entrepreneurship in creative industries.

- Innovation as a phenomenon never happens in a bubble but is dependent on influences from many different actors around us. This becomes particularly noticeable when we try to readjust to create new innovative solutions that are outside the traditional portfolio of a company's operations, says Erik Gustafsson.

Erik Gustafsson and parts of the Innovation department at the Swedish forest industry group Södra.
Erik Gustafsson and parts of the Innovation department at the Swedish forest industry group Södra.

New solutions needed for a more sustainable fashion industry

Drawing parallels to his own research on the Swedish fashion industry, Erik highlighted how the change that many more traditional industries are facing creates a need to understand other industries and markets. The links to the forest industry is here a good example, where several recent innovations show the need to come up with new solutions for textile fibres as to make the fashion industry more sustainable.

- Discussions and processes like these are crucial for us in working towards a more sustainable industry. We can see that there are good opportunities to work together in an ecosystem where historically central industries in the Swedish economy, such as textiles and fashion on the one hand and the forest on the other, can create conditions for continued innovation, says Erik Gustafsson.

About Södra Innovation

Södra is a Swedish forest industry group owned by the forest owners, and the company works with the entire value chain within the forest industry. Södra Innovation is the name of the business area for the company's innovation work with a focus on several strategic areas: paper- and dissolving pulp, sawn timber, energy and chemicals.

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