Electrolux President and CEO Jonas Samuelson shares his thoughts on some of the external and internal innovation initiatives that the Group is engaging in. What’s the difference between a Hackathon and an Ideas Lab, and how will they benefit consumers?
For the past decade or so, Electrolux has been on a journey to reshape the company from a traditional manufacturing and engineering company to become more consumer-focused and innovation-driven. We are well on our way and with the digital revolution continuing to transform Electrolux and our industry, it is more important than ever to develop our thinking and approach in this area.
It’s not just about our products and services, which are becoming connected; the digital transformation is affecting the entire value chain and the competitive landscape. What are the possible benefits of connected appliances and what are consumers actually looking for in this area? Will some kind of online service be a key revenue stream for Electrolux ten years from now? How will or can we use new technologies like big data, articificial intelligence, and machine learning to deliver more value to consumers? Will our main competitors be the same? Are there even more disruptive developments around the corner?
We are building up competencies throughout Electrolux in order to prepare for and understand the answers to these questions. Our ambition is to offer remarkable consumer experiences with best in class products and services, connected or not. But to remain at the forefront of our industry, we also have to look beyond the stakeholders traditionally involved in business and product development and build on the tribal knowledge of the entire company, as well as on other potential sources of insight such as consumers and strategic partners.
To this end, Electrolux is driving several external and internal innovation initiatives to tap into the collective wisdom of employees, consumers, experts, thought-leaders and other companies. Read more about these initiatives below, and in the related articles here on the Electrolux Newsroom.
iJam leads the way
The first wider such initiative was the iJam, a 72-hour brainstorming session for all of our employees, asking them to draft ideas on a specific theme and collaborate across functions and business areas to make them even better. Launched in 2012, Electrolux iJams have had 28,000 participants and generated almost 7,000 product ideas. Read more here.
Recognizing the need to work more closely with external innovators, Electrolux has established the Open Innovation organization. Tasked with managing incoming ideas from potential business partners, as well as with scouting the wider market for relevant innovations, the Open Innovation team has contributed with several tangible improvements to Electrolux existing products. For example, the ComfortLift dishwasher originated with Electrolux Open Innovation. Read more here.
Electrolux Ideas Lab
Electrolux Ideas Lab is a global online-based consumer competition that aims to trigger creativity and out of the box thinking around matters relating to the home and everyday life. The platform celebrates the creative minds of the participants and enables them to take their ideas even further. For Electrolux, the competition generates consumer insight and identifies the ideas and trends that matter to our consumers. Born out of the Design Lab competition, where design students were invited to submit ideas primarily for future products, Ideas Lab has a wider target audience and also a wider scope. Read more here.
The Hackathon is another new kind of venture for Electrolux, where we invite experts and thought leaders from various industries, with different backgrounds and skills, to spend 24-48 hours on a specific innovation topic. The first Hackathon ran in early June 2016 in Stockholm. With applicants from around the world, 30 were selected to address the challenge: create ideas around world-class consumer experiences in the focus areas Taste, Care and Wellbeing. This Hackathon will be followed by more events where participants will hack software, hardware and build prototypes of these and other concepts. Read more here.