This week IM spoke with Daniel Åhlström who is currently the Technical Center Director at Autoliv Sverige AB in Vårgårda, Sweden. Daniel shares his views on the importance of creating a creative climate while at the same time establishing a productive process for new development and innovation.

What is innovation  management to you?

For me Innovation Management is to create a climate and a way of working that stimulates new ideas and innovations. Having a well known and established process that can bring creative ideas into new products is also essential. I also believe it’s important to provide a good tool box for idea creation and evaluation of new ideas.

What are the most  important lessons for an innovation manager to learn?

I believe one of the most important lessons learned for an innovation manager is to allow “space” for creative thinking and set-based development. To inspire people to be creative by defining key areas for future innovation and ask the right questions is also important. Promoting a mindset where “problems” are seen as opportunities to create new innovation is also very helpful.

Do you think  innovation management as a profession is headed in the right direction?

l have seen more and more focus on Innovation as it’s importance as a competitive advantage has grown the last years.

What’s your next  big challenge?

A big challenge I see is to maintain a good balance between daily project deliveries and time for creative thinking.  Another big challenge is to continue improving the process of knowledge capturing which is the back bone of new development and innovation.

About Daniel Åhlström

Daniel Åhlström working as Technical Center Director at Autoliv Sverige AB in Vårgårda, southwest Sweden. Master of Science in Automation from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. Worked in different roles in the Autoliv group since 1993 including 5 years in Austalia as General Manager Marketing & Sales.