Summer Photo Competition 2009

Today Sweden changed from summer time to normal (winter?) time. We gained an extra hour, which I spent on announcing this “competition”. Otherwise my two jobs, one at Innovationsbron and the other at VINNOVA keep me rather busy.

Although this summer has been a really rainy one, at least in Sweden, somehow I’ve managed to take lots of photos. Want to help me pick the one to symbolise the Summer of 2009? Write down which one is your favourite in a comment to this blog post together with your email address, and at the same time you will enter the lottery with a chance of winning a lovely bouquet of summer flowers. Open until 1st of December.

Look at the Picasa folder with the pictures, and then go back to this blog post and write a comment. It does not show immediately, but you can rest assured that I will take good care of it and put it into the lottery bowl!

Looking forward to your vote!


Dressing as Design

I’m probably going to Shanghai during fall and when I told my friends about this one of them quickly asked me to go to an outlet at Nanjing Road and buy 20 shirts for him. Now, I probably won’t have time to do this but I was intrigued about the request. The idea of having someone else buy my clothes is very remote to me as and I also came to realize that I don’t have more than one of any piece of clothing. Unless you count two shirts from The Banana Republic I bought in Boston that share the same design but are totally different with respect to colour and cloth.

This is probably a gender thing. As a woman, I don’t just dress in the morning – I compose an outfit. The clothes I wear are carefully selected in order to fit the weather, the schedule and my mood. To look the same two days in a row is not an option. I think this is good practice in order to stay creative.

My absolute favourite designer is Vivienne Westwood. I hope one day to wear one of her suits (I adore her evening dresses, but I have a hard time picturing myself in one of them). In the meantime I might use the suggestion from The Guardian on how to make you own Westwood dress!

Although some days I certainly wish I had some kind of uniform, when inspiration is nowhere to be found and both the weather and schedule have changed since I did my planning the previous evening...


Prickly Wisdom

I am forever thankful to my friend Katja who recommended me reading Muriel Barbery’s warm and intelligent “The Elegance of the Hedgehog”. This book celebrates learning, but also demands that we do something good or beautiful with our new knowledge.

A great source of inspiration for good deeds is Harvard Business Review’s September issue. In it several important aspects of sustainable business development is covered, very much related to the HINT project I’m working with at Innovationsbron.

Constant innovation is the key to survival, why it is interesting to read about how LEGO and Cisco have approach this issue using the wisdom of the crowd through competitions and end-user communities. Engagement from employees is also important, where a green strategy can boost moral as well as innovation.

Women as an often neglected market because of lack of diversity in company workforces and boards is another topic (although I think this particular article was a little bit traditional in its pick of products). Six key female consumer segments are identified and, yes, I could see myself in this model.

C K Prahalad has written several interesting HBR articles all related to sustainability the last years. In this issue he argues that sustainability of the key driver for innovation and describes five stages for companies on their way towards sustainability. Another piece looks at renewable energy and Bill Clinton talks about how to create value even in the middle of an economical crisis.

Blue Ocean Strategy is described as a way for a company to actually have an impact on the context it operates in. This is a way for the entrepreneur who is not afraid of taking on the double task of changing the world and attracting customers. Like the CSR-driven entrepreneurs in focus in a Nordic research project.

What is also interesting with this issue is that only a few of the articles mentioned above can be found in the “Sustainability + Innovation” section. Apparently, HBR only considers environmental aspects as sustainable. Me, I’m still in favour of the People-Planet-Profit definition of sustainability.

One important aspect of sustainability is of course to be long-lasting. This is the topic of many of Jim Collin’s research project. One of my favourite books is “Good to Great” where, of course, the hedgehog concept is one key to survival.

“A hedgehog concept is not a goal to be the best, it is an understanding of
what you can be best at.”
Jim Collins