CTO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 30

At Milan's Eurocucina 2014, an

from external sources into a company

international kitchen furniture

for evaluation and, potentially, for

exhibition, Electrolux received

development. While widely adopted

positive reviews for its kitchen-of-

in the dot-com industry, open

the-future showroom. Among the

innovation's real potential for success

innovative prototypes on display:

is within the "old economy," at

a dishwasher with a bottom rack

companies like Electrolux.

the knowledge a

Open innovation has been around

company needs does

that swings up to waist level, a gas
cooktop with movable burners and
reconfigurable flames, and a builtin kitchen garden - this last one a
pride-and-joy of mine, as the head
of global R&D for our food
preparation division.

for 15 years or so, but it first grabbed
my attention about six years ago
while I was on holiday. In the book
I brought along with me, A.G.
Lafley, then the CEO at Procter &
Gamble, describes how he turned

Early this year we launched our Herb

P&G around at the beginning of the

Garden product in Europe. It looks

last decade by adopting an open

like a small kitchen cooler that can

innovation approach. The book,

be installed in the wall or under a

called The Game-Changer, was an

counter, and it uses a combination

eye-opener for me. I was confident

of climate control and lighting to

that Electrolux could benefit from

support seed cultivation. It's great

the same kind of approach, so I

for city dwellers who don't have an

committed to working toward that as

outdoor area where they can grow

soon as I returned from holiday.

fresh basil or other herbs they use
for cooking.

I knew that was going to be easier
said than done, of course. Changing

The idea for the Herb Garden, I am

a corporate mind-set can be quite

happy to say, did not originate at

difficult, and I did indeed face

Electrolux but at a small Canadian

some tough challenges when I

company. Why, you might wonder,

introduced the concept at Electrolux.

would I boast about this? I am

Fortunately, I had the backing of the

proud because the concept came

chief technology officer, to whom I

to our attention through the open

report directly, from day one.

innovation network that I founded
and have been overseeing at
Electrolux for the past several years.

Executive sponsorship is critically
important, because you cannot
achieve pervasive change without it

Inspired Innovation

- especially when you're asking your

Open innovation recognizes that the

and invest in a new, unproven way of

knowledge a company needs does not

conducting business. Adopting a new

always reside within its four walls,

approach can be especially difficult

so to speak. An open innovation

for business executives operating at

model facilitates the flow of ideas

companies with tight profit margins

CTO Straight Talk | 30

colleagues to put aside lifelong biases

Open innovation
recognizes that

not always reside
within its four walls.


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CTO Straight Talk - Issue 2


CTO Straight Talk - Issue 2