Tomas Backström, professor

Tomas Backström är professor i innovationsteknik.

Han föddes i Järvsö, Hälsingland, 1957. Efter civilingenjörsexamen i teknisk fysik 1982, fick Tomas anställning vid Arbetsolycksfallsgruppen på KTH för att forska om olycksfall vid datorstyrd produktion. Forskningen flyttade fem år senare till Arbetslivsinstitutets (ALIs) föregångare och han doktorerade på resultaten i Lund 1996.

Under sina tjugo år på ALI gick Tomas forskningsintresse från människa/maskin-nivån till den organisatoriska nivån. 2002 blev han docent i Industriell arbetsvetenskap. Idag forskar och utbildar han om kreativitet och förändring, med speciellt fokus på ledaren, gruppens kreativitet och organisatoriska förutsättningar för innovationer. Forskningen baseras på komplex systemteori och ett intresse för hur organisering växer fram i social interaktion.

To Tomas Backström´s webpage

 

Publikationer

  • Introduction

    It is well known that the development of successful business and production systems are full of conflicting forces; initiatives that seem conducive to one line of work can be a constraint on another line of work. This kind of dilemma is the core subject of the current book, and by applying alternative perspectives to such dilemmas, the book will present ideas on how these could be managed in organizations. Organizations need to manage a number of challenges in terms of dualities in order to create a contemporary production system, which seems to be key to future innovative quality improvements in operations. The challenges and dichotomies that are addressed in this book are all part of four interrelated processes that together constitute key elements of a contemporary production system: The innovation process—creation and implementation of new offerings and solutions, The production process—production and distribution of offerings and solutions, The knowledge creation process—emergence and distribution of knowledge, The value creation process—created customer value based on the offerings and solutions developed. 

  • Solving the quality dilemma : Emergent quality management

    The Emergent Quality Management paradigm combine the two sides of the dichotomy imposed by the dilemmas of the production system: on the one hand side exploitation, stability, control and efficiency and, on the other hand, exploration, adaptability, creativity and effectiveness. The two sides—actors’ exploration and the structures of exploitation—are interconnected and reinforce each other. Actors and structures are always interconnected with each other in a circular causality. It is through the interactions between the actors that the structures emerge, and these structures organize the activities of the actors. The conflict in goals between exploration and exploitation at individual and team levels is thus transcended. This is a theoretical transcendence, meaning that by using the Emergent Quality Management paradigm it becomes obvious that the dichotomy is not a problem that must be managed, but a necessary feature of wholeness.

  • A New Survey Instrument for Assessing the Innovation Climate
  • Assessment competence and its importance for IMA-tool use
  • Conclusions

    In this concluding chapter, each of the previous chapters are reflected upon based on the emergent quality management paradigm presented in Chap. 9 by Backström. This book introduces four processes: innovation, production, knowledge creation, and value creation processes. It is emphasised that companies must prioritise and develop all four of these processes to survive and prosper. Throughout the book, dichotomies associated with these processes have been elaborated on and discussed. Historically, these dichotomies have often created dilemmas owing to the current understanding of their relations. However, as suggested in this book, alternative perspectives can be used in a constructive way to resolve these potentially high-impact dilemmas. Recognising the dichotomies as mutually dependent gives further possibilities for the development of production systems.

  • Presencing and Downloading : in Photo-supported Group Discussions on Innovation

    Abstract: The overall research focus in the study is how photographs can be used in workplace innovation processes. This work-in-progress paper discusses photo-supported group discussions on innovation as an approach to incorporate employees in the development of a radically innovative culture. The method involves managers and engineers in a process that transforms their conceptions of innovation into visuals and words, and provides a possibility for collective reflection based on these formulations. Enabling all employees to use their experiences and knowledge in workplace innovation is an opportunity being pursued in Sweden. The paper is a starting point to discuss whether or not the method of photo supported discussion on innovation could be helpful to support a shift to a radically innovative culture. The concepts of downloading or presencing are introduced to analyse the method.

  • Arbetsplatsnära forskning - en diskussion om vilka krav det ställer på metoderna
  • Self-organisation and group creativity

    The team has become the basic organisational unit of development and innovation work and an understanding of creativity at the collective level is crucial for long-term sustainability. This article takes a process perspective and understands group creativity as emerging from the interaction among group members. It is about the possibility to enable the emergence of selforganisation, thereby increasing group creativity. This paper presents an experiment where four out of eight randomly formed groups of students were given a work order structured according to the group process model “GroPro”. In groups using the GroPro ideas were significantly more often promoted, observed and used by other group members, and used in the final solution. Further, the two best solutions and the more creative solutions of the task were found among the GroPro groups. A work process structured according to the GroPro model seems to increase self-organisation as well as the creativity of the group. Further, the group process is shown to be more important for group creativity than the individual creativity of the group members. Our results encourage more focus on the group process by both academia and practitioners.

  • Making People’s Work-Integrated Relations Visible. Useable Organisational Images for Managerial Enabling of Change

    This paper examines the potential contribution of organisation images where there is a need to understand and lead change. It is theoretically based on the dual assumption that leaders and co-workers learn when carrying out their work tasks, and that they act and make decisions according to their own conceptions. Intended change and development in organisations are as necessary as they are challenging. The paper aims to advance the idea of understanding organisational images as potential practical and pedagogical tools for informal change. Therefore, the paper discusses qualities of different types of organisation images in terms of their potential contribution to intended informal change, and how these images may provide support in the leading and organising of learning and development in organisations. In addition to the usual organisational chart, the visualisations ‘organisational circle’ and ‘task network’ are displayed and discussed and suggested to aid the asking of new questions, which may qualify the understanding of organisational change.

  • Exploring tensions between creativity and control in product development projects

    To sustain organizational performance in dynamic contexts, organizations must be able to change through innovation while still continuing to perform in the short term. Central to successful innovation is to understand and manage tensions, paradoxes, contradictions, and dilemmas. This paper will present empirical data from a single case study discussed in relation to institutional theory in connection to organizational tensions and conflicts. Results show examples of a strong focus on proactive approaches with attempts to control and manage product development projects in a strict manner, even though the organization is acting in a context characterized by uncertainty with a need for creativity and a reactive approach. This shows a lacking understanding of what is required of the project process in this context and the tensions created between the strict process control and the dynamic environment. Conclusions point at the need for both creativity and control in the management of product development projects. However, there is a risk of strong institutions preventing organizations from recognizing the need for change.

  • Att synliggöra samarbete –bilder och begrepp för förändring
  • Enabling Transformative Learning in the Workplace : An Educative Research Intervention

    The aim of this article is to discuss the potential of an educative research intervention to influence the quality of the learning outcome in theworkplace as interpreted from the perspectives of adult learning theory. The research project was designed as a quasi-experimental, mixed-methods study. In this article, quantitative survey data were taken as the point of departure, and qualitative data were used for the purpose of analyzing aspects of learning. An educative research intervention may support a transformative learning quality when the manager and employees have to deal with severe difficulties, and they succeed in doing so by sharing responsibilities and having the strength to engage in thedevelopment process in the workplace. It is possible to support transformative learning in the workplace through an educative research intervention that encourages managers to educate themselves and their employees to think and act in new ways, aiming at integrated autonomy, increased interaction, and learning.

  • Group creativity and work process structure

    Creativity in work life typically includes several people, thus there is a need to understand how people interact and support each other in creative group processes. Is there, for example, a need for a structure of the work process of a creative group? This paper is about the possibility to enable self-organisation and if an attempt to do so can increase group creativity. In the experiment of this study half of the groups were given a work process structured to enable self-organisation. The degree of self-organisation was measured with a questionnaire and the idea flow was observed and analysed. Ideas were significantly more often observed and used by other group members in the more self-organised groups, and the two best solutions of the task were find among them. A work process structured according to the six delta model seems to increase self-organization as well as creativity of a group.

  • Making people’s work-integrated relations visible : Useable organisational images for managerial enabling of change

    This paper examines the potential contribution of organisation images where there is a need to understand and lead change. It is theoretically based on the dual assumption that leaders and co-workers learn when carrying out their work tasks, and that they act and make decisions according to their own conceptions. Intended change and development in organisations are as necessary as they are challenging. The paper aims to advance the idea of understanding organisational images as potential practical and pedagogical tools for informal change. Therefore, the paper discusses qualities of different types of organisation images in terms of their potential contribution to intended informal change, and how these images may provide support in the leading and organising of learning and development in organisations. In addition to the usual organisational chart, the visualisations ‘organisational circle’ and ‘task network’ are displayed and discussed and suggested to aid the asking of new questions, which may qualify the understanding of organisational change.

  • Essential reins for guiding complex organizations
  • Visualisations of Relatonics : A Tool to Support Change in the Organising of Work?

    This chapter is based on theorising and analysis from an ongoing research and development project exploring the use of visualisations in task-based development, specifically the potential of new types of organisational images that may support understanding about work-integrated learning. Thus, the aim of the chapter is to explore the possibilities of visualising work-integrated competence networks—here referred to as relatonics—and contribute to the understanding of how such visualisations can support efforts of organising change when organisational boundary-crossing cooperation is needed for a significant task. A conclusion is that images representing relatonic can be utilised to identify areas with a developmental need and, in this way, are a resource to make more knowledgeable interventions and enable a relatonic to emerge in certain directions.

  • Organisationsbilder och förståelse vid förändring - visualisering av arbetsintegrerade relationer
  • Simulating the emergence of the organizing structures of work

    —This article is a first step toward a visualization and classification system for studying dynamic organizing structures of work. As a first step toward this researchobjective, this study brings together two active projects. One called “relatonics” studies work group formation and is primarily empirical and inductive. The other called “Human Interaction Dynamics (HID)” imports concepts, relationships and modeling from complexity science and is therefore primarily theoretical and deductive. The vision is to use social media, data gathering, and process simulation technologies to rigorously describe, systematically visualize, and validly model the complex dynamics of work processes of different types. This work will serve as a means to classify, study and improve the performance of work systems. We describe our progress to data and suggest further research.

  • Human interaction dynamics (HID) : Foundations, definitions and directions

    This paper proposes an analytical framework for a complexity-informed theoretical approach to human interaction and organizations. In doing so, it addresses the increasing call for better theory supporting the microfoundations of social science. A key premise of the argument is that the primary imperatives of social actors are confronting uncertainty and adapting to change as a collective. As such, in addition to seeking requisite resources, human beings interact to gather and use information for their individual and collective benefit. The paper explores this perspective by proposing a complex systems model of organizing that differs from systems theory by placing the actors inside the system rather than assuming they act on the system. We propose a definition of information that enables us to explore the dynamics of human interaction as observers from the outside without necessarily knowing what the information means. This approach is analogous to how physical and biological systems are studied and is intended to complement, rather than replace existing approaches that tend to place their emphasis on inter-subjectivity and meaning-making rather than on the objective measurement of information as a physically measurable quantity

  • Managerial Rein Control and the Rheo Task of Leadership

    The goal of this paper is to describe a mind set for those in leadership roles that is needed to succeed in today’s increasingly complex and fast-changing business environments. Over the course of several action research projects in Sweden over the last few years, my colleagues and I have identified what we believe is a distinct mode of thinking, communicating and interacting with others. The Greek word for “flow” is rheo, so I call it: Rheo Leadership. The concept of Rheo Leadership aims to clarify for practitioners how to lead effectively in modern organizations. Successful managers understand and make use of two kinds of structures: those consciously formulated by managers and those that are tacit and emergent within the workgroup. Each of these influences the same three sub-categories of activities: acting, thinking and relating. Within the social context, leaders influence outcomes by thoughtfully and skillfully using two dualities that are inherent within human interaction dynamics: the convergent divergence of evolving patterns and integrated autonomy of individual actors. Effective use of the opposing poles of these dualities to efficaciously channel forward momentum is called “rein control”. The final section describes field experiences from research as well as successful interventions with first line managers in what I call the rheo task for leaders are described.

  • Delat ledarskap : Om chefer i samarbete

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  • MODEL FOR ENABLING INNOVATION COMPETENCE DEVELOPMENT IN GROUPS

    This article argues that due to the highly competitive and fast changing global environment organizations today face an innovation challenge. They need to expand their competence for radical innovation beyond their R&D departments or special units and enable employees across organization to develop competence for both incremental and radical innovation. Since most innovation challenges today are too complex to be solved by individuals, they also need to learn how to enable innovation competence development in groups. Unfortunately there is a gap in existing literature between understanding innovation competence on individual level and on the other hand innovation capability on the quite abstract overall level of the firm. Results from a study of contemporary dance groups and a study of radical innovation initiatives in Japanese manufacturing companies are used in this article to develop a framework of key enablers for developing innovation competence in groups. The six enablers identified and described in the framework are: group collaboration and co-creation; emergent bottom-up, top- down process; training and practice; personal involvement; continuous iteration between exploration and reflection; and diversity of people, spaces and tools. The article also presents how the framework is currently being tested in practice at the Mälardalen University.

  • Managers' task to supportintegrated autonomy at the workplace. Results from an intervention. : International Journal of Business and Management; Vol. 8, No. 22; 2013

    A new managerial task arises in today’s working life: to provide conditions for and influence interaction between actors and thus to enable the emergence of organizing structure in tune with a changing environment. We call this the enabling managerial task. The goal of this paper is to study whether training first line managers in the enabling managerial task could lead to changes in the work for the subordinates. This paper presents results from questionnaires answered by the subordinates of the managers before and after the training. The training was organized as a learning network and consisted of eight workshops carried out over a period of one year (September 2009 – June 2010), where the managers met with each other and the researchers once a month. Each workshop consisted of three parts, during three and a half hours. The first hour was devoted to joint reflection on a task that had been undertaken since the last workshop; some results were presented from the employee pre-assessments, followed by relevant theory and illuminating practices, finally the managers created new tasks for themselves to undertake during the following month. The subordinates’ answers show positive change in all of the seventeen scales used to assess it. The improvements are significant in scales measuring the relationship between the manager and the employees, as well as in those measuring interaction between employees. It is concluded that the result was a success for all managers that had the possibility of using the training in their management work.

  • Communication as a Mechanism for Cultural Integration

    Providing autonomy for employees ensures innovation competence if balanced by integration into the organization. The aim of this article is to study processes leading to the integration of employees into the company culture. The two research questions are: What makes the culture of a work group similar to the company culture? How is a work group culture constructed? Theories that are employed concern culture as an organizing structure emerging in the interaction, company culture as a way to exert control, and social networks as a way to describe the interaction. Empirical data come from a merchant bank from which 105 respondents from ten work groups answered questions about their communication and their integration into the company culture. The results show that the sub-culture of the group emerges in communication between members of the group. There seems to be a self-reinforcing spiral between collegial talk, especially about goals, plans and changes at the work place, and cultural integration. All members of a group should be included in this communication to create a strong culture. The value system of the supervisor strongly influences the sub-culture of the work group. Appointing supervisors with values that correspond to the company culture and provide for employee communications is thus central for organizations using culture as a tool for control.

  • Visualizations of relatonics as a management tool to facilitate workplace innovation? – A case study in a Swedish municipality
  • Innovative leadership - supporting creative team interaction

    Creativity-stimulating leadership is necessary for successful innovation in groups and organizations. Such leadership requires deep and extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of creation, as well as general and specific leadership abilities and skills that promote creativity in a team. By applying the emergence perspective, social dynamics in leadership and in the creative team may be understood as the interplay between team members' interaction that organizes the work. This paper argues that the essential competencies for the team emerge in the interaction between all the members of the team, including the leader. Creative developmental phases demand other kinds of attitudes and qualities of interaction between group members than production on a daily basis. Team members need to develop creative thought styles and creative action patterns, combined with the ability to temporarily change those patterns.

  • Incremental and radical innovation from a complex system theory perspective

    One challenge in Total Innovation Management (TIM) is to include all personnel of the organization in all kinds of innovative processes. Most former models have suggested separating incremental and radical innovation in different departments, since they need different kinds of thinking, acting and relating; exploiting respectively exploring. In this paper we are going to develop an understanding of innovation based on complex systems theory in order to transcend the paradox between exploiting and exploring. Activities like communication and experiments are important. We will describe processes and structures for practical use of the TIM-model and point at the need for integrated autonomy to facilitate emergence and structures like culture, praxis and relatonics for organizing of the innovation system.

  • Processes for Incremental vs. Radical Innovation
  • Creating an innovative culture using the physical space as an artifact. Findings in art and manufacturing industry
  • Isolated cases or widespread practice? : The occurrence of sharing managers
  • The Role of Manager in the Post-Industrial Work System
  • Leaders' development and corporate culture

    You are not born to be a leader but can develop into one. A number ofdevelopmental theories describe the way adults can develop towards morecomplex and differentiated ways of under-standing themselves and the world,measured e.g. by a research-based test, the Washington University SentenceCompletion Test (WUSC).A case study of a highly competitive bank in Sweden with a humanistic corporateculture was conducted through a multimethod study including the WUSC test. Theaim was to investigate in which ways this kind of culture, where learning isconsidered as a part of everyday work and employees actively participate in thebusiness planning process, is related to development.Results show that the vast majority of employees (including managers) represent aspecific developmental level where people still are task- rather than goaloriented.The developmental level of managers were important for how theirleadership was thought of by employees and for how successful they were ininvolving employees in the business planning process. Thus developmentalaspects seem to be important for maintaining and further developing a culturethat supports learning.

  • Communication as a mechanism for culture integration

    Autonomy of employees is one way to ensure the flexibility, adaptability and innovation competence needed in organisations working on a global market. This has to be dynamically balanced on a system level by integration of the employees into the organisation. Formulation and communication of an organisational culture is one way to integrate employees to an understanding of the work that increases the chances of co-ordinated behaviour towards the goal of the organisation.The aim of this article is to increase the knowledge about processes leading to integration of employees into the organizational culture. The hypothesis is that culture emerges in the interaction between members of a social group. Thus, the article is studying the importance of communication, the research questions are: What makes the culture of a work group similar to the organizational culture?, How is a work group culture constructed? and How is it possible that some members of the workgroup are integrated in the organizational culture while others are not?Theories used are about culture as an organizing structure emerging in interaction between actors, about organizational culture as a way for management to exert control, and about social networks as a way to describe the interaction processes is.The empirical data comes from a merchant bank in Sweden famous for: long term competitiveness, a decentralized organisation and the use of organizational culture. 105 respondents from ten work groups of this bank have answered questions about their communication and their integration into the organisational culture.The results show that communication between members of a group is a mechanism behind the development of the sub-culture of the group and the integration of each individual member into this subculture. There seems to be a self-reinforcing spiral between collegial talk, especially about goals, plans and changes at the work place, and culture integration. To build a strong subculture it is important to have all members of a group included in this communication, since persons in the periphery of the talk pattern tends to be less integrated. The value system of the group’s supervisor is strongly influencing the sub-culture of the work group. Thus, to hire supervisors with the correct values and giving resources to employees for communication is central for an organisation using organisational culture as a tool for control.

  • The Managers’ Directing Task
  • Company culture and communication networks. Empirical patterns and transformative potentiality
  • Transformative learning in a decentralized organization with a strong company culture; a case study of a bank
  • Complexity and democracy as points of departure in Total Innovation Management
  • Moving towards Total Innovation Management
  • Chefer i samarbete : Om delat och utvecklande ledarskap

    Boken handlar om chefsamarbeten - delade ledarskap - som karaktariseras av att cheferna upplever fortroende sinsemellan, prestigeloshet visavi varandra och har gemensamma varderingar. Nar forsok att samarbeta i delat ledarskap misslyckas sa handlar det ofta om att nagon av dessa tre ingredienser inte fanns. Daremot kan former och arbetssatt variera. Var uppfattning ar att tatare samarbete i chefspositionen kan bidra till att bade verksamheter och personal utvecklas. Avsikten med boken ar darfor att bidra med kunskap om hur delat ledarskap kan innebara en fornyelse av formerna for hur chefer arbetar och samarbetar. Det ar en inspirationsbok som kan ligga till grund for att forsta bade eget och andras delande av chefskap. Efter det inledande kapitlet foljer ett exempel pa tva chefer som sedan drygt tolv ar har arbetat i delat ledarskap. Vi ringar in fenomenet delat ledarskap genom att faststalla dess kannetecken och former samt satter det i historiskt och internationellt sammanhang. Du kan sedan lasa vidare om hur delat ledarskap kan startas och vikten av att hitta sin egen vag, om hur chefer gor nar de skoter chefsuppgifterna tillsammans och vad medarbetarna tycker. Med hjalp av ett exempel berattar vi om hur illa det kan ga om kunskap saknas och aven pengar kommer in i bilden i ett delat agarskap, nar man ager ett bolag tillsammans. I ett annat kapitel belyser vi svarigheter och fallgropar lite mer allmant. Vi ger ocksa tips och en del att tanka pa samt dyker ner i siffror om forekomsten av dessa samarbetsformer och installningen till delat ledarskap bland chefer i svenskt arbetsliv. Mot slutet satter vi in delat ledarskap i ett organisatoriskt sammanhang.

  • Sustainable competence: Reproduction and innovation in a bank

    Decentralization and company cultures has emerged to master increasing external flexibility, as in a competitive bank in Sweden., raising issues of the sustainability in terms of competence and competence development.. Purpose The aim is to study how the staff members in a bank perceive a company culture and how this perception is related to background aspects (gender, age, etc.), and engagement in regular regulating activities decided by the company. Design and methodology A “abductive” approach inspired by action-, adult developmental-, complexity- and “holon” theory comprise a frame of reference applied on a multi methodological case study in progress , within which a survey distributed in the whole bank in Sweden has been analyzed in terms mainly of a multiple linear regression analyze.. Findings Results indicate strong integration in the company culture related to active engagements in regular and regulating activities. The regression analysis clearly indicates that the cultural integration is more influenced by those activities than by individual background variables. However, results also show more critical attitudes towards the culture. This may reflect both an individual developmental aspect and a generational aspect. Research limitations. Results are only one of many necessary contributions to a deeper multi methodological ongoing approach Originality. The approach combine different lines of reasoning and data providing both a broad an in depth elucidation of the issues studied.

  • How to organize for local resource generation

    The generation of resources is a central issue for the sustainability of companies. This paper deals with two research questions: “Is decentralized generation of resources a possible way to reach sustainability in modern work life?” and “What prerequisites must be formed by organizations and managers to reach decentralized generation of resources?” The theoretical basis for this discussion is the complex adaptive systems theory. Three requirements for sustainable decentralized resource production are deduced: worker's autonomy, worker's integration in the organization, and demands on increased fitness. The empirical basis for answering these questions is the study of four different Pharmacy-districts, each with a different organizational solution. Three sources of data are used: interviews with the four Pharmacy-district managers; a questionnaire to all employees, and the balance scorecard of the company. Two of the districts may have reached an unbalance on the system level between autonomy and integration. The other two districts have similar scores of medium for both autonomy and feeling of integration. One of the balanced districts has also a manager focusing bottom-up change processes. This district has both the strongest resource generation and a leading position in increasing efficiency and customer satisfaction and, thus, sustainability. A simple model is formulated based on complex systems theory and tested in real life: Decentralized resource generation is one way of obtaining sustainability; co-existence of both autonomy and integration of employees, combined with a leadership of transformative character, all encourage this. The article may inspire researchers, managers, consultants and workers to use this new perspective on organizations and sustainability.

  • Den hållbara och kreativa organisationen

    Detta kapitel behandlar hur social interaktion samverkar med och påverkas av organiserande strukturer – interaktion skapar strukturen relation samtidigt som denna relation påverkar interaktionen. Vi studerar inte interaktionen genom att beskriva enskilda samtal i detalj, utan genom att studera vilka mönster eller organiserande strukturer som växer fram i interaktioner. Det gäller både de temporära strukturer som organiserar interaktionen och arbetsorganisationens mer stabila strukturer, det vill säga sociala ordningsparametrar.

  • Emergence and sustainability in a decentralized organization.

    Continuous development is a key issue for long term competitiveness and sustainability of organizations on a changing global market. Decentralization is one way to reach this and there are several reasons behind our choice to study decentralization, including increasing demands on organizations to be flexible, increasing use of lean and flat organization structures, and changes in the workforce of the western society. There is a need for development of new theories concerning organization and management to understand and be able to manage decentralized organizations. The central assumptions in the paper are that decentralization and emergence is a way to reach sustainability, that relatonics are a central feature of the organization, and that an organization better have a dynamical balance between autonomy and integration of its members to make emergence possible. The assumptions are tested in an empirical study: there is a connection between relatonics and emergence, a dynamical balance between autonomy and integration is showed to be important for emergence, and emergence and sustainability is connected. The conclusion is that our theoretical assumptions are validated by our empirical study and further work in this line is encouraged. Complexity theory is a good base for theories about decentralized organizations.

  • Shared vision as an order parameter

    This paper is dealing with a way to temporarily change the patterns of thinking and acting of a team. Or more specific; to move a team through a phase transition from an ordered phase to a complex phase. The aim is to make it possible for production personnel to contribute and be integrated in idea development processes. Innovation and improvement are important to ensure long term competitiveness for most companies. Since patterns of thinking and acting in idea development is different from the ones needed in production it is often recommended to perform this work in a department not connected to production. The division between production and idea development may lead to several problems; e.g. impoverishment of the work of production personnel, no input from common days experience in idea development, and harder for production personnel to understand and take responsibility for the production of new products resulting from the idea development, and thus e.g. hamper future work with improvements of it. The ideal for team creativity is to be able to make use of all members' different ideas, experiences and different ways to understand things, in a common creative process. This is possible if each team member at the same time is both autonomous, independently using its competence in action, and integrated, relating each action to an emerging idea shared by all team members. When independent agents interact, and an organization which controls the actions of the agents emerges in this interaction, then we have a complex system, by definition. The agents are at the same time autonomous, following their individual organization, and integrated to the system, following the organization of the system. Most of the work tasks for normal teams in work life demands predictability, not creativity. Such teams develop patterns of thinking and acting that is good for repeatedly producing with high efficiency and quality. This is possible for an ordered system with low autonomy, not a complex system. The question of this paper is: Is it possible to find a strategy that may be used to support a team to reach a complex phase, were it is creative sooner than predictable? An important inspiration writing this paper has been an article Movie making as a mediator in dialogue (Palus & Drath). The thoughts presented in the article were similar to our understanding of how to support creativity of teams and we have decided to use this technique in our creativity lab. In our paper we describe how to understand this technique from a complexity perspective, and start a discussion about how to measure the complexity of a team's social interaction.

  • Emergent leadership of creative groups.

    It is a win-win situation when an organization is able to take advantages of employee´s creativity. We argue that creative developmental phases demands other kinds of patterns than production on daily basis, with maintained quality and efficiency. Thus collaborators need to develop creative thought styles and creative action patterns, combined with the ability to temporary change these patterns. For actualization of these new patterns we emphasize two essential supporting conditions: 1) the balance between autonomy and integration, 2) the capacity to deal with spontaneity. First, leaders has to assure that appropriate conditions for a balance between autonomy and integration in the group is established, so that each individuals' initiative relates appropriate to the mutuallly created group idea. The second essential condition for group creativity to be materialized is that collaborators' spontaneous responses has to be encouraged as well as their trust in the groups' capacity to deal with these responses constructively. In order to reach a comprehensive view on these complex phenomena we utilize an emergence based perspective in our research. This perspective focus on the interaction between two levels, i.e. the emerging higher level and the lower component level. Through the emergence perspective social dynamics in leadership and in the creative group may be understood as the interplay between group members interaction, i.e. low level, and emergent common patterns of ideas, actions and relationships, i.e. higher level, that organizes the work.

  • Kaikaku - a complement to emergence based development.

    Radical change, or Kaikaku, is typically organized as a top-down change project based on a design process strategy. Creative processes are emergent and tend to refuse goal-steering. Still, group creativity and emergence could play an important part in Kaikaku projects. A vision formulated in a creative process, may be an order parameter in emergence and continuously direct, align and commit the actions of the people involved in the Kaikaku.

  • Attractors for communication?
  • Interview Supported Innovation Audit: how does a complementary interview affect the understanding of an innovation audits results when the interview is based on the audit statements

    SMEs tend to lack the ability of sustainable development through cost-effective and repeated innovation. One way to find out a current innovation state is to run a self-assessment innovation audit, which are well used but got critics to not show reliable results The authors formed research question: How might a complementary interview affect the understanding of the result of the innovation audit when the interview is based on the same statements used in the audit? The study was conducted at two Swedish SMEs with a mix of management and personnel. 21 respondents at both companies answered 840 audit-statements and equal amount of interview questions rephrased from a “how-perspective”. 4 audit-statements were left blank and 103 interview questions were answered, “I don't know”. A great differ in the understanding appeared and the conclusion was that a selfassessment innovation audit might not show reliable results conducted without a complementing interview.

  • Spatial design for continuous improvement : The case study of three manufacturing companies

    There are places in industry intended for communication regarding continuous improvement. This paper presents an observation of the state of practice today in one large and two medium-sized companies. It explores spatial design in

    continuous improvement areas and how spatial design may hinder or support communication regarding

    improvements. Although implementation and development of lean manufacturing is a subject for research in an

    industrial context, the spatial design is not well developed as a supporting variable. Computers or digital

    visualisation tools are not used in the improvement areas of the studied companies, even though the companies have

    a highly automated production. The improvement areas serve as a complement to the integration of manufacturing

    through computers. The improvement areas enhance the possibility to develop shared knowledge of how the

    production works and to coordinate actions. The architectural and semiotic analysis of the spatial design for

    continuous improvement in industry implies a different perspective and includes aspects of cognition, information,

    communication and treats how and what the elements in the improvement areas communicate.

     

  • Sustainable competence : Reproduction and innovation in a bank

    Purpose: Decentralization and company cultures have emerged to master increasing external flexibility, as in a competitive bank in Sweden, raising issues of the sustainability in terms of competence and competence development. The purpose of this paper is to study how the staff members in a bank perceive a company culture and how this perception is related to background aspects (gender, age, etc.), and engagement in regular regulating activities decided by the company. Design/methodology/approach: An "abductive" approach inspired by action-, adult developmental-, complexity- and "holon" theory comprise a frame of reference applied on a multi-methodological case study in progress, within which a survey distributed in the whole bank in Sweden has been analyzed in terms mainly of a multiple linear regression analysis. Findings: Results indicate strong integration in the company culture related to active engagements in regular and regulating activities. The regression analysis clearly indicates that the cultural integration is more influenced by those activities than by individual background variables. However, results also show more critical attitudes towards the culture. This may reflect both an individual developmental aspect and a generational aspect. Research limitations/implications: Results are only one of many necessary contributions to a deeper multi-methodological ongoing approach. Originality/value: The approach combines different lines of reasoning and data providing both a broad an in-depth elucidation of the issues studied.