Page 1


A look at how extraordinary leaders communicate extraordinary ideas. p.13



Connecting foresight to design using visual, hands-on methods. p.12


NO.1 – FEBRUARY 2009

The role of wayfaring and improvisation in the search for innovation. p.15

“We are responsible for understanding our future ahead, and ultimately, to build it.” Dr. William Cockayne, Stanford University p.12

THE LULEÅ EXPERIMENT An international workshop on design research and video interaction methodology. p.16


Global innovation team turns thin air into drinking water in dry and polluted areas. p.20




has little to do with legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s notion of ‘functioneering’ as “putting the architecture on the outside”. On the contrary, funktioneering is much more about delivering content than putting up a facade. Customers in a wide variety of markets are increasingly asking for ‘services’ rather than ‘products’, for ‘experiences’ rather than ‘things’ and to meet these demands, product developing companies need to rise to the occasion by putting careful attention to how such functions could be developed to meet these needs to the highest possible degree. Funktioneering is the art and science of understanding which functions customers really need, and designing and engineering the function-carrying components of such ‘total’ product offers. What about the ‘funk’? Well, just like the music genre, funktioneering needs to draw its inspiration from an eclectic mix of people, domains, and skills - and yet deliver a seamless and wellcomposed user experience.


by the Division of Functional Product Development at Luleå University of Technology, Sweden. This inaugural issue has been made possible through the generous support provided by the Kempe Foundations to strengthen the collaboration between Luleå University of Technology and Stanford University.

This issue primarily reports on some of the collaborative endeavours we have embarked on together with Stanford University, and it also provides some insight into the broader aspects of Silicon Valley culture. If you have any ideas on how to strengthen the competitiveness of Swedish industry through our strong relationship with Stanford University, do not hesitate to contact our editor. EDITOR Andreas C. Larsson Assistant Professor Division of Functional Product Development Luleå University of Technology SE-971 87 Luleå, Sweden E-mail: Phone: +46 70 332 18 74 URL:


CO-EDITOR Andreas L. Larsson






P9. TALK: DEBUNKING THE PATENT MYTH Jeffrey Schox, Schox Patent Group















Carl Kempe, The Kempe Foundations Ola Isaksson, Volvo Aero

Tobias C. Larsson, Luleå University of Technology Andreas C. Larsson, Luleå University of Technology Andreas L. Larsson, Luleå University of Technology Banny Banerjee, Stanford University Tom Kosnik, Stanford University Lennart Frantzell, Lars-Henrik Friis-Molin, Magnus Jepson

Shawn Hanna, Speck Design Michael Dearing, Stanford University

David L. Jaffe, Stanford University

JoeBen Bevirt, Joby, Inc.

William Cockayne, Stanford University


Peter Törlind, Mikael Nybacka & Åsa Ericson, Luleå University of Technology


Malte Jung & Neeraj Sonalkar, Stanford University



Peter Törlind, Luleå University of Technology

Tamara Carleton, Stanford University


- TOC -





Carl Kempe

Chairman of the Kempe Foundations Research and education are often described as cornerstones for building competence and skills in companies, especially in the so-called knowledge economy. It may sound obvious, but it is worth reflecting on why this is the case. Besides being stimulating for the individuals involved, the result from research and education can be new insights, techniques and tools that can be used for companies to perform better. “Can” is a word that poses some questions. Ola Isaksson, Senior Company Specialist at Volvo Aero, and Adjunct Professor at the Division of Functional Product Development, reflects about a series of exercises over the last year involving researchers from both Luleå and Stanford. Q: Could you tell us more about the doubts you have when it comes to the usefulness of university collaboration to companies like Volvo Aero? A: I simply mean that the results from our joint research activities are only the starting point from the company point-of-view. Not until the results and insights gained in these projects have been applied within the company and generated the intended effect, we have truly gained from any research or educational effort. Q: Could you give us an example? A: Let’s say that Volvo Aero has an issue with a certain capability, such as predicting the behavior of a manufacturing process on the product due to welding. Following a research project together with the university, the research results in methods to simulate the impact from welding on the distortion of products need to be validated. Thus, the effort remains to apply the methods in the company’s processes, and to do so in a way that the intended effect can be achieved in operation. This actually requires competence, skills and quite a bit of effort. In addition, these methods may never have been used at the company before, so there may be a need for some alterations in the established work methods. Changing the way we work tends to meet resistance before gaining acceptance.

“The Design Observatory is one of the key elements in future research of the innovation process.” The first collaboration between Stanford University and Luleå University of Technology took place in 2001, and was initiated by Professor Lennart Karlsson at LTU together with Professor Larry Leifer at Stanford University. Dr. Andreas C. Larsson describes the project in his article. The Kempe Foundations had supported Lennart and his group at LTU for several years, but Lennart managed to finance the first project with Stanford without specific funding from the Kempe Foundations. The success of the Virtual Pedals project made it easy for the Kempe Foundations to fund some of the following collaborations. The aim of the Kempe Foundations is to support research and education in the northern part of Sweden. Finding that the northernmost university of technology in Scandinavia could exchange know-how with the world-renowned Stanford University on equal terms was intriguing, and we

had the opportunity to visit Stanford University in November 2004 in order to verify the benefits. In 2005 we funded some specific developments of the collaboration. The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW) has funded the Wallenberg Hall at Stanford and the Wallenberg Global Learning Network. Together with KAW we have supported the new LTU Design Observatory that was inaugurated in May 2008. The Design Observatory is one of the key elements in future research of the innovation process. The Funktioneering Magazine is, as I see it, a very promising attempt to inform about the results of the initial steps of the collaboration between LTU and Stanford University, and we look forward to the future. Carl Kempe, Chairman of the Kempe Foundations.

Q. Change is always a challenge. How has your university collaboration enabled you to cope with change? A: Well, the example I gave has actually already been successfully introduced at Volvo Aero, but we are in continuous need of both research and competence transfer together with our university partners. During the last year, I had the opportunity to experience a new way of thinking through my participation in the foresight workshops (see separate articles), first at Stanford in April ‘08, and then in November ‘08 both at LTU and at Volvo Aero where several of my company colleagues took part. These techniques, and the general concept of Functional Product Development, can actually be quite widely used to evolve the company. As part of learning more about the way to change patterns within my organization I also participated in a leadership course focusing on “Organizational Change and Renewal”, given at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in January ‘09. Q. What did you learn in the executive course? A: Quite a lot actually. During an intense week, we penetrated organizational change aspects from many views. In particular, we discussed how strategy, execution and culture are interlinked. Guided by theory, case studies and exercises we managed to learn a set of techniques to analyze situations and find ways to go further with implementing change in organizations. This is a necessary skill in making the new insights from research and research collaboration effective. Our teachers were top researchers from Stanford and Harvard, which had first-hand access to case material that you normally only read about. Q. What will be the next step for you? A: I just completed the intense leadership course on change and renewal, and will definitely use these newborn skills in leveraging the way my company can collaborate even more effectively with the university, and better bring the results into new practices within the organization.






Ola Isaksson Volvo Aero


“The focus on function performance rather than product performance opens up the design space regarding what possible solutions exist.” In this Q&A session, Professor Tobias Larsson, Head of the Division of Functional Product Development, shares his perspectives on the difference between developing ‘function’ vs. ‘hardware‘. Q: What differentiates Functional Product Development from the development of ‘traditional’ products, and what is your contribution to such processes? A: Firstly; the shift in business strategy from oneoff sale to longterm commitments pushes companies to be closer to their customers and to be aware of the value creating activities. In the business-to-business domain, ‘traditional’ products are engineered to be sold as products and not as function providers. The traditional one-off sale used to make maintenance and after-market services a potential income. In the function perspective, the aftermarket activities might possibly be a cost for the provider. Secondly; since the entire lifecycle of the product is important, the knowledge regarding product use is of key importance, and having this knowledge already in the design phase (through simulation and knowledge reuse) becomes a crucial advantage. Thirdly; the focus on function performance rather than product performance opens up the design space regarding what possible solutions exist. Our main contribution is to put life-cycle commitments in focus and, through research, tailor the development processes for products that are part of such commitments. Q: How can you talk about Functional Products and ‘total life-cycle commitments’, and at the same time focus so strongly on the early phases of development?

A: Make no mistake; this is a subject where modeling and simulation becomes more important than ever. The knowledge of product lifecycle usage, the reapplication of that knowledge, and the possibility to simulate function performance over life-cycle becomes key. This is why we need to merge our expertise in Knowledge Enabled Engineering, Team Based Innovation, and Simulation Driven Design with the overall Functional Product Development perspective to explore and develop knowledge intensive tools and methods for knowledge capture and reuse, for the purpose of predicting lifecycle effects of early decisions in the concept phase. Q: You work in the intersection of business, engineering, and human values. What does the term ‘simulation’ include in such a highly diverse context? A: Simulation entails representing certain key characteristics or behaviors of a selected physical or abstract system. The regular idea of simulation is that it is about representing the performance of products in terms of stress, strain, etc. Here, we use simulation to represent systems – early in the concept phase – as they might play out if particular decisions are made. Then it becomes possible to evaluate a wide range of possible decisions before actual development costs occur. Q: You also promote a ‘knowledge based’ and ‘information driven’ approach. Why are aspects of knowledge and information so central? A: Without going into definitions, it is about effectively utilizing the information and knowledge that exists in processes, products and persons, so it can be acquired, evaluated, and used to make the ‘best’ possible decision in any given context and situation.

Q: In light of globalization, what can your division do to facilitate collaboration in development teams that are spread all over the world? A: It is a fact that most businesses are spread across different geographical locations, different corporate cultures, etc. Our work on Team Based Innovation focuses on putting the development teams in focus and supporting them with tools, methods and best practices that aid their work process. Although not restricted to engineering, the engineering task is somewhat demanding in terms of collaboration due to the heavy demands engineers have on their work environment so here we find it extremely interesting to bring in new tools and methods that are better tailored to the task at hand. Q: You have forged a very strong relationship with Stanford University. In which areas do you see them contributing the most to the Functional Product Development field? A: Stanford are at the forefront of Design Thinking in the world and we have mutual benefits of collaboration; they appreciate our exceptionally close industrial cooperation that gives us lead on being “close to the customer”, observing trends in industrial development. They bring in a strong tradition of design studies and have lots of research experience related to design observatories. Their innovation drive and our systematic approach to knowledge sharing and product development provides an interesting mix that will benefit both parties in future research, education and industrial development. The past two years we have intensified the collaboration and I feel very positive about the future!



Tobias C. Larsson






Andreas C. Larsson

Assistant Professor Luleå University of Technology Andreas spent January-June ‘08 as a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Center for Design Research. With his home base at the Division of Functional Product Development at Luleå University of Technology, Andreas focused his attention on the topics of design and innovation - mainly exploring aspects of creative teamwork, design thinking, and user-centred design.

“You never know what will trigger someone else’s mind...”

My first Stanford experience was in 2001, in the first year of my PhD studies. We had agreed with Professor Larry Leifer of Stanford University’s Center for Design Research to do a collaborative project on distributed team innovation within the class called ME310: Team Based Design Development with Corporate Partners.

be comfortable with the ‘unknown unknown’, and to even embrace it. Like the archaeologist or the anthropologist, I was trained to search for answers, to discover patterns, to explore evidence, but I must confess that I wasn’t very open to consider alternative explanations and I was a person who wrestled, rather than danced, with ambiguity.

make use of also the wacky, unlikely, or outright insane ideas. You never know what will trigger someone else’s mind, so if you want to have a truly creative team, you should encourage everyone to share all of their ideas freely and to suspend judgment for a while, rather than having them sit and ponder about their genius, once-in-a-lifetime idea forever.

We had a team of four Luleå students and four Stanford students working on the concept of ‘virtual pedals’ for Volvo Cars – a drive-by-wire, adjustable pedal system which would provide a safer driving environment given the high amount of foot and lower leg injuries that occur with today’s mechanical pedal systems. Knowing before our visit that the Stanford class was more biased toward creative and ‘unconventional’ thinking than the classes we taught at Luleå, we had already convinced Volvo Cars to loosen up a bit on their very rigid requirement specification, which was filled with all kinds of technical data to give the students a hint of what the company expected from them.

I know that most of our students and faculty that have worked together with Stanford during these years have experienced some sort of culture clash between the relatively structured and ‘analytical’ approaches dominant in Luleå, and the relatively unstructured and ‘prototypical’ approaches dominant at Stanford. Some of our current staff members were once students in these Stanford projects, and I can’t help smiling when I hear them talk to new students about the need to preserve ambiguity and to avoid premature closure. It is also quite interesting to see how we have adapted our own curriculum to better incorporate some of the successful strategies we have picked up at Stanford.

In Luleå, we have started to build a research and education community which is greatly inspired by what we have learnt from Stanford concerning creative teamwork and design thinking, and I think that we are much more open towards experimentation and prototyping than we were before. We still do careful analysis, but we don’t let it stop our exploratory activities. I guess we have become less polarized and have understood that it is not an ‘either/or’ situation.

In our negotiations with Volvo Cars, we aimed to reach a point where the students were asked to address a truly demanding engineering challenge, but where there were fewer constraints in the early phases and more of a focus on describing the underlying needs and motivation behind this new pedal concept. I remember that Volvo Cars was really open to our suggestion, and we ended up with a mission statement which was a lot more open-ended and forward-looking than the statements that similar projects in our Luleå class had produced. I guess this was really where I got my first ‘dance with ambiguity’, as Professor Leifer so elegantly puts it (read more in Jung’s and Sonalkar’s article).

A prototype, for example, is more of a learning tool than a verification tool at Stanford, and we have now embraced that perspective also in Luleå. I will never forget how this difference in perception played out in the virtual pedals project. One of the Luleå students had secretly worked on his own pedal concept, and it was not until it was almost entirely finished and verified that he shared it with the group. The Stanford students asked him why he hadn’t said anything earlier, and his reply was that he wasn’t a hundred percent sure that it would work. I can identify with him. Prove first, and if it works, then let others know.

I think that sharing an idea or a piece of work that is in progress is actually one thing that I have become increasingly comfortable with over the years, and this openness to build upon the ideas of others is very prominent at Stanford, as is the willingness to contribute with and A MAGAZINE FROM THE DIVISION OF FUNCTIONAL PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AT LULEÅ UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY -3With a background in human work science and computer science, I was very much into needfinding, ethnographic studies, and user-centred design when I started my PhD studies, but what I hadn’t learnt in my previous studies was to

My Stanford experience has also influenced me deeply on a personal level. Since the late 1960’s, Professor Bernie Roth has led hundreds of workshops, classes and events aimed at making people aware of their untapped potential for creativity in both work and life, and assisting them in confronting barriers to successful teaching, personal and professional growth. What I primarily learned from taking part in such workshops, from talking to Bernie and sitting in on his classes is that I am, personally, in charge of setting and achieving my own goals, and I need to see my own excuses for what they are – just poor excuses and bullshit reasons. In theory, what I have learnt from Stanford sounds like fairly quick lessons. However, in practice, it has taken me almost eight years to ‘get it’, and I continue to have ‘aha!’ moments whenever I interact with the Stanford community. I guess what keeps me so strongly attached to Stanford is the opportunity to take part in a unique, creative culture where change seems to be the only constant, and where the unknown inspires rather than frightens. FUNKTIONEERING MAGAZINE, No. 1, February 2009

There are several ways I could have begun my column. A few options I played around with was to start with something like the Native Americans, Sir Francis Drake´s expedition, the California Gold Rush, the generous donation made by railroad tycoon Leland Stanford which set the stage for what later became Leland Stanford Junior University. Or what about the appointment of Frederick Terman as Dean; his students William Hewlett, and David Packard, who co-founded their business, today known as HP, out of a garage in downtown Palo Alto; the experimentations and innovations in the fields of radio, television, and military electronics that lead to the emergence of what later have became known as the Silicon Valley? Well, I choose to begin with my expectations and my preconceived assumptions. Before I arrived at campus, I did not really know what to expect. Until then I had had the chance to visit university campuses practically all around the world. I must admit that I thought I had pretty much seen it all. I had made brief stints at numerous campuses around Europe and extended stays at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Nihon University Graduate School of Business in Japan. My favorites until then was CERAM Sophia Antipolis Mediterranean campus close to the French Riviera, London Business School with its posh facilities and renowned faculty, Copenhagen Business School´s unique blend of Scandinavian and European influences staged in sort of a SAS lounge environment, and BI Norwegian School of Management´s prominent US-trained faculty and positive attitude. Before arriving at Stanford, in the back of my mind, I played with the idea that Silicon Valley and Stanford must be viciously competitive, that networking is everything and that you probably must have a flawless track record in order to be

given a fair chance – that only results matters! I could not have been further from the truth. Instead, I quickly learned that this is a place where you get rewarded for trying, not necessarily succeeding. This is a place where you always get a second chance and where failure definitely is an option, as long as you learn something from your mistakes. Moreover, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs I have listened to typically start their talks by saying something like “...first, my colleagues and I played around with a bunch of the end we did not really like any of them, so we got back to the drawing board. Still we have managed to try out a few ideas within the few years... all of them have failed, some even failed miserably. This time, we are confident that we are on the right track.” The prototyping culture is key at Stanford, in terms of summarizing their approach on creativity. The end results are often secondary while the journey, and the learning process, is crucial. People make a point of showing all the detours they took before eventually ending up with an academic paper, an invention or a new venture. I also think that wild ideas are warmly welcomed. As a matter of fact, that is really what people are looking for – the really crazy ideas with huge potential. This goes for novel ideas all over the spectra; research, education, innovations, inventions or new businesses. One reason behind this risk-taking behavior could originate from the fact that self-made entrepreneurs and prominent scholars walking the streets of Palo Alto all have proved people wrong in the past. Some of them perhaps ended up with the Nobel Prize while others founded a corporation based on some, at that time, weird and crazy idea. Examples of these crazy ideas might be to build an electric roadster, an algorithm that helps you make multiple back-ups of the Internet on some 100 000 individual computers, or a web site that enables

people to interact with others – by sending kisses, fighting vampires and writing stuff on their friends´ personal walls, or forcefully arguing that protons, the tiniest thing we knew, must have an internal structure themselves. So, we have this bouquet of seemingly crazy ideas, but what is the selection process like? A colleague of mine once said “I don´t know what´s wrong with Silicon Valley, but sometimes I feel as if we put all ideas, good or bad, into a big black box and then just pull out few candidates to bet on – I just have such a hard time seeing any pattern or logic behind the selected candidates”. But maybe it is all just like a slot machine, a completely random process. I guess we have to keep working those machines. My overall aim with my contributions to this inaugural issue of the Funktioneering Magazine, has been to find the heart and soul of Silicon Valley and Stanford University. I believe that there is something special that is happening in this region and at this campus, and I am pretty confident that it just can´t be a fluke. Maybe it is the engineer in me talking, but I don´t like the fact that something this successful can be a mere coincidence. Or as in my field of research, what if triumphant strategic management ultimately is pure luck? If this is the case, my area of interest is no longer an academic field. By the way, do you know how William Hewlett and David Packard decide whose initial should be first – the H or the P? Well, they tossed a coin to decide whether the company they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard or PackardHewlett. Maybe I should rest my case after all. Last but not least, I would encourage everyone to do the Stanford experience themselves; the problem is that you probably never want to leave.

“The prototyping culture is key at Stanford.” VIEWPOINT


Andreas L. Larsson

Luleå University of Technology Andreas spent September ‘07-April ‘08 at Stanford University as a Visiting Researcher at the Center for Design Resarch. With a background in Management of Technology & Innovation, his main interests have been aspects of management and entrepreneurship in the context of Silicon Valley. Andreas is today a Programme Manager for Product Realization at the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA). A MAGAZINE FROM THE DIVISION OF FUNCTIONAL PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AT LULEÅ UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY



“Design is not complete until something has come alive.” VIEWPOINT


Banny Banerjee

Stanford University “A chair is not complete until someone has sat in it”, says Banny Banerjee, Director of the Stanford Joint Program in Design. “Corporations care about their market cap. Academics care about if their findings are defensible. Designers are applicability oriented – they care about making a difference”, he continues. The position as Director of the Stanford Joint Program in Design is Banny Banerjee´s seventh profession, a somewhat unusual career for someone holding a high-ranked academic position. His first encounter with the Stanford Joint Program in Design was when he, after twelve years in industry decided to go back to school to get his Master’s degree. Stanford Professor Rolf Faste, then the Director of the program, said to him: “I don´t think you should take all these classes as an ordinary student. With your background you will just get bored and probably quit school. Why don´t you teach the very same classes with me instead?” Said and done. Rolf and Banny taught the classes side by side. A few years later, Banny left academia and eventually ended up at the design firm IDEO, where he spent nine years. Now he is back, in charge of the very same program he once taught together with Rolf Faste. The Master’s students who enroll in his program have previously been trained within completely different fields. A classroom of the Joint Program in Design is usually made up of a diverse set of students with academic backgrounds in mechanical engineering, mathematics, linguistics, physics, electrical engineering, computer science, sociology, art…you name it. The mix of students is what makes it fun, enjoyable and creates sparkling discussions which eventually end up in outside-the-box, sometimes groundbreaking, solutions to conventional problems. Together, the students expand the solution space beyond traditional thinking – the diversity makes the trick.

a clear division between fields. Therefore, they have suffered from walls between different academic disciplines. Most importantly, they are intrigued by wicked problems. Hence, they are fascinated by problems that are messy, circular and aggressive. Thus, they tend to love problems in which the solution space is unconstrained, as opposed to the classic problems in chess and mathematics, which have finite solution sets. Consequently, in wicked problem-solving, discrete solutions are difficult to recognize as such because of complex interdependencies. One could say that such problems are alive in the sense that they are incomplete, contradictory, and with ever changing requirements. “One such problem could be the one of drunk driving”, Banny suggests. “Where should you start? Is drunk driving a problem? Of course it is, but it is still very hard to plan an attack against. Sure, we could easily narrow the solution space by for example preventing drunk drivers from igniting the engine, we could ban alcohol, we could increase the number of police men patrolling the streets, we could increase the fines and jail terms…the list is endless to what solutions we possibly could come up with”. However, few approach such a problem without first constraining its solution space.

So, how can one prepare students to address these wicked problems? Learn the basics, and then practice, practice, practice. Once they have enrolled in the two year Master’s program, they spend the first year learning the basics of design thinking and design processes by taking projectbased classes. No final products are made during the first year. In the second year, each student expands her or his own topic through design, to explore new, groundbreaking avenues. When they graduate they have learned the heart of design; “it is about taking an issue and looking Despite being a diverse group, the selected at two distinct components or asking different candidates have three things in common; they questions”, says Banny. “To make design into a were top performers in their previous field, they profession is something new, before there were have no experience in design and they don´t see shoe designers, wine bottle designers… someA MAGAZINE FROM THE DIVISION OF FUNCTIONAL PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AT LULEÅ UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY -5-

thing and designer… today it is a profession of its own… Before, it all revolved around the design of artifacts, tangible stuff, today designers bring ideas to life, they create visions, strategies and initiatives.” The core of design today, according to Banny is; “Design is about not just solving problems, generating problems, defining problems, generating solutions, defining solutions… Design is a process to have a conviction; design is not complete until something has come alive.” When designers approach a multi-dimensional space, they should ask themselves; 1. “What is the right thing to do?” 2. “How to do things right?” “It is very important to really find the right answer to the first question before moving on to the second question. Good designers are brilliant at finding answers to the core question; What is the right thing to do?”, says Banny. “Once designers have ended up with a solution, they can bring ideas to life as they are very emotional and therefore can tell compelling stories”, Banny continues. Thus, for instance, while sociologists are only observing, designers are proactive and thus work as agents for change. Designers have a few characteristics that make them different. They are holistic, proactive, inductive, abductive and retroductive. Hence, in a sense, they are sometimes driven by imagination rather than data. They are good at telling compelling stories, which ultimately may help create the future. Banny believes that design is fundamentally holistic in a world which has been carved up into niches (e.g. doctors are doctors, engineers are engineers, etc.) In order to come up with groundbreaking solution to wicked problems, it is about time that we tear down those walls. Banny and his students at the Stanford Joint Program in Design are on the case.



Dear Readers, This page originally contained an article based on an interview with Professor Tom Kosnik, Stanford University. Unfortunately, there were a few misunderstandings in this interview that has caused us to withdraw the article. Assumption is the mother of all misunderstandings, and I wrongfully assumed that Professor Kosnik was given the opportunity to check the article for accuracy before it was published. This was not the case, and for that I want to express my sincere apologies to Professor Kosnik. I would also like to express my gratitude to Professor Kosnik who has responded to this unfortunate mishap with great courtesy and professionalism, Andreas C. Larsson Editor




“In Sweden, pessimism is default – nine out of ten believe that you will fail.”


ENTREPRENEURSHIP Lennart Frantzell Lars-Henrik Friis-Molin Magnus Jepson The new venture ecosystem is made up by four key components; entrepreneurs, venture capitalists/investors, industry incumbents, and academia. If the objective is to investigate similarities and differences between Silicon Valley and Sweden, one needs to find people who have experience from both places. We have talked to three Swedes, living in Silicon Valley, each representing one stakeholder in the ecosysstem, to get their view on entrepreneurship in Sweden and Silicon Valley. Lennart Frantzell (LF), working for one of the biggest computer companies in the world. He has been a Silicon Valley resident for the past 25 years. Swedish native, California-based, serial entrepreneur Lars-Henrik Friis-Molin (LHFM – pictured above), currently runs some 20+ companies in the US, Sweden, Switzerland, P.R. of China, and Mexico. Swedish native Magnus Jepson (MJ), a Venture Capitalist specialized in startups in Silicon Valley. Q: What can Sweden learn from Silicon Valley? LF: “The simple answer is ‘marketing’. Period.” LHFM: “An opportunity is a terrible thing to waste. Go for it! It is remarkable that Swedish universities only prepare people to run existing processes within established corporate giants. In Swedish universities, students basically learn how to administrate and behave within large companies. Instead, they should aim at producing entrepreneurs or at least ‘intrapreneurs’ Also, legal issues such as tax benefits for start-ups, incentives, equity and options are important. In Sweden, it is hard to attract and retain top-talented people to start-ups. Risks are high and therefore, so should rewards be. Collaboration between academia and industry, when it comes to knowledge transfer and commercialization of technology innovations is also something Sweden could learn.” MJ: “Swedish entrepreneurs could learn from the ‘networking culture’ that exists in Silicon Valley.

Networking is part of the daily life, it happens spontaneous and it happens everywhere, not only on the golf course or at networking events. Also, entrepreneurs are not afraid of asking for help and advice from more experienced entrepreneurs, which could be an important tool for success.” Q: What can Silicon Valley learn from Sweden? LF: “The Swedish egalitarianism.” LHFM: “Nothing, I am deeply sorry that I have to say that.” MJ: “Representing a Venture Capital firm, I sometimes find it hard to work with the ‘politeness’ of the American business culture. It is often hard to know if people are telling you what they think you want to hear, which of course creates a problem for an investor. In Sweden I think the business ethics, overall is in better shape.” Q: Silicon Valley is often used as a benchmark when it comes to entrepreneurship. What cannot be copied by Sweden? LF: “Silicon Valley can not be copied, only be used as an inspiration. For example, a NY Times article from January 13, 2008, noted that the co-inventor of the transistor and the founder of the valley’s first chip company, William Shockley, moved to Palo Alto, CA, because his mother lived there. Moreover, although the transistor was invented at Bell Labs in New Jersey, an antitrust lawsuit during the 1950s forced AT&T to license the technology openly at a nominal charge. And, the venture capital industry, an important part of the Silicon Valley ecosystem, was given a big boost by Congress in the late 1970s when legislation loosened pension fund regulations — touching off an early wave of high-profile initial public offerings. I strongly believe that the success of Silicon Valley relies on a magic recipe to which no one really knows the exact ingredients.”



LHFM: “It is possible to replicate almost everything. However, I think it will take time to grow and nurture the ‘go for it, nothing is impossible’ attitude which makes Silicon Valley what it is.” MJ: “It would be hard to copy the competitive climate in Silicon Valley, since there is not enough room in Sweden for that kind of competition due to obvious factors such as availability of capital but also tradition and business culture plays a big part. The entrepreneurial spirit is not nurtured in Sweden in the same way as in Silicon Valley. In Sweden you find more obstacles, such as more administrative work and higher taxation for business.” Q: What are the key differences between being an entrepreneur in Sweden and Silicon Valley? LF: “The possibility to find and attract talent with unique, cutting-edge, knowledge within almost all fields. Also, the opportunity to meet and greet the leaders within many fields in academia as well as industry – the heart of networking and closeness to the well-spring of knowledge.” LHFM: “In Sweden, pessimism is default – nine out of ten believe that you will fail. Some even hope that you will do so.” MJ: “I believe one of the major differences to be the fact that an entrepreneur always has the opportunity to bounce back. In Silicon Valley, an entrepreneur with a failed idea or liquidated company is not a scandalous thing. Actually, I find the opposite being true, investors generally value the experience the entrepreneur received from the mishap. However, the single biggest difference is the mentality of the ‘average Joe’. I recently heard a news clip on Swedish radio, where the journalist explained that Venture Capital firms in Sweden are often accused of ‘wanting to make as much money as possible in as short of time as possible’ – oh, really!?”



“For Speck it is all about process.” Speck Design is a product development consultancy based in Palo Alto, California. Following a visit to their office, we conducted a brief Q&A session with Shawn Hanna, CEO. Q: What is the core design philosophy at Speck? A: For Speck it is all about process. During our initial Product Conception phase we ask questions to understand the big picture challenges of our clients. Through observational research we consider the needs of our client’s customers. We then take a broad look at what the product can be. Our design team will typically include various disciplines: Industrial Designers, Mechanical Engineers, Electronic Engineers, Marketing experts, etc. This initial phase is all about exploring the possibilities of the product and not honing in to one answer. Q: What differentiates Speck from other design firms? A: Although our concept exploration is broad, our feet are always on the ground. Most of our customers (there are some exceptions) are planning to make a thing. Beyond being beautiful, functional and appropriate for the intended market, the thing eventually needs to be manufacturable, shippable, and fit on the store shelf for

the right price. We strive to consider all of the aspects of getting a product on the shelves for our customers as efficiently and cost effectively as possible. Q: What do you believe is the most critical factors in successfully bringing a product to market? A: I think it depends on the market and the product. For some companies, like our sister company Speck Products who makes cases for iPods, PDAs and laptops, speed is critical. The product does not have to be perfect but it does need to hit the shelves before the competition. Any imperfections can be adjusted over time. In other industries such as Medical Device products, the design has to be right the first time so significant design diligence, not speed, is critical. However, for all products or services, you ultimately have to have the right product at the right time for the right price delivered with the right message. Q: What is special about running a business in Silicon Valley, and do you see any particular advantages or drawbacks? A: Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Speck Design works with an incredibly diverse range of clientele. From very seasoned and sophisticated Fortune 500 corporations to small well funded start-ups to individual inventors who have the

next greatest ice cream scoop. Speck has to be nimble enough and efficient enough to work well with all types of customers. Q: What do you foresee as the biggest challenges that your company faces in the years to come? A: In the short term, our company along with most others in the country, will be stifled by the financial market. Our business is successful because of the industriousness, inventiveness and diligence of our customers. Our customers have wonderful ideas that eventually find funding to become realized. That is when they come to us. For the next year or so I think banks, VCs and corporations are going to be far more conservative as to what they invest in. For Speck, we are well positioned having diversity in strong US corporations as well as strong foreign companies. Longer term, the world is truly getting smaller and many foreign countries are investing in and developing strong ID and ME talent. Our talent base in North America is going to be facing great competition in the next few years. Q: What do you think characterizes a successful designer? A: In the consulting industry – I think a designer can be judged by the success of his or her cli A.C.L ents.



Shawn Hanna Speck Design




Prior to joining the Stanford, Associate Consulting Professor Michael Dearing spent more than six years at the online auction and shopping website eBay, in Sweden also known by its brand.



During his years at the world´s largest online trading community, Michael led the development of many of the most well-known features and services currently offered by eBay, including Buy It Now, eBay Stores, ProStores and Want It Now. His last position at eBay was Senior Vice President and general manager of eBay North America, responsible for more than $ 1.7 billion in annual revenues and nearly $ 20 billion in gross merchandise sales. Now back in academics, he certainly has an intriguing background for being a university Professor. Michael’s current interests include process design for new product development, “productizing” emerging technologies, web-based businesses, product marketing, and pricing. In recent years, he has been involved in courses entitled Creating Infectious Action and Creating Mass Market Experiences. He also teaches graduate seminars including Creative Product Marketing, and Innovation in Complex Organizations. We had the opportunity to ask Michael why he decided to go back into academics in the first place, what is unique with his wellknown course “Innovation in Complex Organizations” co-taught with Professor Bob Sutton, and what makes Stanford University and Silicon Valley special? Q: What is unique with the course? A: Bob and I wanted to create a course that integrated Design Thinking, product marketing, and organizational theory in a seminar format. It’s an intense, small group experience with real life product design challenges as projects. We’ve been lucky to partner with great organizations like Google, Facebook, JetBlue, NASCAR, and P&G giving the students a chance to practice what they learn real time.

Michael Dearing Stanford University

In order for something to be patentable your idea has to be novel, unobvious and good for the society, that are the basics of patenting, but in his talk Jeffrey Schox, Lecturer at Stanford University, gave his audience a much deeper look into the complex world of securing exclusivity. Jeffrey began his presentation by stating that inventors and entrepreneurs typically have two compelling questions related to patent law; whether their invention is patentable, and whether making and selling their invention infringes upon a competitor’s patent. He later concluded that there is, unfortunately, a prevalent myth that combines and confuses these two questions. Most inventors and entrepreneurs believe that “as long as I receive a patent on my product, no other company can stop me from making and selling my product”. The fact is that the patentability of an invention, and the right to sell and make the invention without infringement of another patent, are completely unrelated. He argued that by misunderstanding this concept, engineers may eventually lose patent rights or infringe the patent rights of a competitor. More importantly, engineers may fail to gain adequate funding for their technology and may consequently fail to introduce, sell, and make an impact with their technology.

Q: What is unique with its setup? A: The seminar sized group; the incorporation of classics of economic thought such as Joseph Schumpeter’s Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy; and the students get to practice on real product innovations with real organizations. Q: What is your (the teaching team´s) ultimate goal with the course? A: We want to give the students a first-hand look at why large, complex organizations struggle with innovation. Many of them will work in such organizations or, on the other hand, start companies that compete with such organizations. Q: Why did you choose to go back into academics? A: I went into business to pay off my student loans. Along the way, I accidentally got to work on some of the most fun things -- I got to start a business, I worked in retail, I got to play a leadership role at eBay. When I left eBay, I decided to devote the next chunk of my career to building intellectual capital and helping students explore ideas. Thankfully, Stanford and the made a place for me and I joined the teaching team. Q: Why do you think it is important to have faculty that also has extensive industry experience? A: I think students learn best when they have access to both clinical and academic research focused faculty. I think of myself as a “clinical” resource. Q: As an east coast native, do you see any differences in the industry/academics interface between the east coast and the Bay Area? A: I think there’s a more fluid exchange of all kinds of capital here – human, intellectual, and financial for that matter – than any place I know. There’s also a healthy respect for failure, for lifelong learning, and for the “clinical” perspective in the classroom.


Jeffrey teaches the course Patent Law and Strategy for Inventors and Entrepreneurs, which provides the foundation to build a patent portfolio and to avoid patent infringement. He also teaches the course Patent Prosecution, which follows the patent application process through each of the major stages. In Sweden, these two areas are often discarded in engineering education; consequently very few engineers have any knowledge about patent and infringement issues. In Sweden, generally entrepreneurs and inventors develop this knowledge through learning-by-doing. In essence, the Swedish approach to patenting issues is more or less “you have to get burnt a few times before you get it right, all you can do is to learn by your own mistakes”. Moreover, patent specialists usually either work for the patent and registration office or for some corporate giant. Patent offices devoted to inventors and entrepreneurs are thus not very common in Sweden. Sweden would benefit from bringing patent, infringement, and intellectual property issues into engineering education. Possibly this would lead to new technology-based ventures and growth for existing SMEs. In the long run, this would provide our large established Swedish companies with interesting acquisition candidates. A.L.L



Jeffrey M. Schox Schox Patent Group



David L. Jaffe at Stanford University has organized a course in the Mechanical Engineering Department entitled “Perspectives in Assistive Technology”. It explores issues surrounding the development and use of assistive technology for people with disabilities. He argues that assistive technology can be the basis for many socially rewarding student and research projects - not only in Mechanical Engineering, but also in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Human Biology. We had the chance to ask Dave about his own perspective on assistive technologies and what students can learn and benefit from learning the art; Q: What would you say are the key differences between working on ordinary product development projects and development of assistive technology devices? A: In most situations a product developer would likely be a potential user of the device to be created and would therefore have a good idea of how it should work. However, an engineer working on developing an assistive technology product would most likely not use the device being developed and might not fully understand or appreciate the subtleties required of the design. So the engineer must rely heavily on the needs and preferences of the targeted population of individuals who will ultimately buy and use the device. While the designer has the expertise to develop a working device, the product’s users define a successful product. If it doesn’t meet their needs, it is a failure - even though it may be a technological work of art. Designers must therefore work closely with users in all stages of development - from conception to testing - to ensure that a truly beneficial product is created.

David L. Jaffe

Stanford University



Jan Chipchase, human behavioral researcher at Nokia Design in Tokyo, gave a talk in the David H. Liu Memorial Lecture Series in Design at Stanford. Visit his blog for a deeper insight into his research ( Who are you? How can you prove it? How do illiterate people manage their contact information? What do we carry where? Why? These are the kind of questions that Jan Chipchase, human behavioral researcher, Nokia Design, Tokyo, persistently tries to find answers to. His design team challenges taken-for-granted assumptions that eventually can, or should, influence the design specifications for Nokia. As an example, don´t most people carry a purse or a wallet? Well, the answer to this, Chipchase’s design team concludes; not necessarily (e.g. Tokyo 98%, Beijing 54%, Ji Lin City 35%). Ok, so everyone does not

Q: What do the students learn by actually working closely with persons with disabilities throughout the design process? A; I would hope that students learn about the nature of disability; learn to observe and listen to individuals with disabilities (and their family) as they express their needs, desires, and preferences; and learn to include people with disabilities as an integral partner of their design team. Individuals with disabilities often have a lifetime of experience living with different capabilities. Students must address these kinds of differences in the design of specialized products that specifically serve consumers who are disabled (or elderly) - or to incorporate design features that would broaden the use of products for a wider market. Q; How do students benefit from working with public and private sources in the community? A; In working with community agencies and commercial companies that serve individuals with disability, students get a comprehensive understanding of the needs of a particular disability group - such as veterans, people with low vision or blindness, or stroke survivors. Whereas a single point of view comes from an individual, the needs of a larger community are better articulated by an organization that represents a group. It is important to understand that two individuals who are blind may have very different needs. So, if an assistive technology engineer designs a device with advice from just one user, the resultant device may only solve the needs of that one user. A device designed with input from many users will better serve a wider range of needs and thereby help more people.


carry a purse or a wallet. Why is that?, his team then explores. It’s an easy target for theft, it shows. The next step is then to figure out whom inside Nokia would benefit from this information and how it might affect design specifications. Chipchase specializes in human behavioral research. The essence of his work is to observe human behavior and develop a deep understanding of how people interact physically and emotionally with products, spaces and services. In his research, he does not focus on what the future will be like, but instead try to figure out how people will behave in the future. In his talk entitled “Seat Covers & Service Design” at Stanford University, Jan talked about Nokia´s recent studies on illiteracy and the future of urban spaces. The studies were conducted in Chongqing (P.R. of China), Mumbai (India) and Rio (Brazil).


Jan Chipchase

Nokia Design



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I was about to prepare for an interview with serial entrepreneur and CEO of Joby, Inc., JoeBen Bevirt, when I suddenly realized that the name sounded familiar. A few days passed, and I just couldn’t figure out where I had come across his name before. Where had I seen this JoeBen Bevirt? One day it appeared to me, physically, just when I was about to find the key to my office at Center for Design Research. There it was, his name on a full-size bicycle made of paper, standing just outside my door. I immediately rewrote the whole interview, I wanted to know what he had been up to since he took Larry Leifer´s ME310-course, which the paper bike assignment was, and still is, a part of. I also wanted him to reflect on his time as student at Stanford – what had he learned, really? JoeBen graduated, with an MSc in Mechanical Engineering, from Stanford University in 1997, he then went on to Incyte Pharmaceuticals, a discovery and development company, where he stayed until 1999. On January 1st, 2000, he and a few friends co-founded Velocity11, a company focusing on automated liquid handling and robotic laboratory testing in the life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors. They bootstrapped the company, i.e. only used their own personal funds and no venture capital when establishing and growing the company, and turned it into an annual $ 15M business, which was later sold to Agilent Technologies. JoeBen left Velocity 11 in 2006 to start his current business, Joby Inc, which develops innovative accessories for the photography and personal communications markets.

JoeBen Bevirt Joby, Inc.


When asked what he learned from his time on campus JoeBen begins by saying: “The Stanford program is just amazing, it is just - 11 -

so much energy on campus… I felt as if I was drinking out of a fire hose… it was the best time in my life”. What distinguishes Stanford from other schools, JoeBen believes, is the ability to encourage you to think that “you can create anything… you can actually fundamentally change the world… not just in terms of products but on a whole”. A great deal of emphasis is devoted to constantly reinventing yourself, a value system that comes out of Stanford, JoeBen argues. The school also has huge success in promoting creativity and creating a team-oriented atmosphere, he concludes. His current endeavor Joby, started out as a single-product company, with a flexible camera tripod called the Gorillapod. Today, the Gorillapod is available in multiple shapes and forms while a Bluetooth headset product line called Zivio has been rolled out. “Why a headset?” I ask. “I spend a lot of time on the phone. No headset was any good, I have tried 50 different ones.”, JoeBen replies. Needfinding at its core. His ambition with Joby is to develop inspirational products for curious people. The one thing he picked up from Stanford, he says, was the fact that although people say things are impossible, nothing is impossible! The main goal of Joby is to connect people – to tie people together. The Gorillapod helps people connect experiences. The Zivio headset connects people. By the way, JoeBen’s paper bike was still parked outside my office when I left Stanford…maybe it will stick around for another ten+ years. If so, JoeBen has probably grown his company and/or moved on to yet another project. A.L.L FUNKTIONEERING MAGAZINE, No. 1, February 2009

The true heart of sustainability is thinking and acting in the long-term. Foresight thinking provides a way to see into the future, anticipate positive changes that might occur, and acting on that knowledge today. Foresight thinking at Stanford began with two eminent 20th century polymaths, engineering professor John Arnold and inventor Buckminster Fuller. Together they developed the model of Comprehensive Design Thinking that combined analytical and creative abilities. Working closely with American industry, they then delivered a series of courses at MIT and Stanford. Their aim to “turn out creative engineers who would be both analytical and imaginative and who would be equipped to perform a real service to society.” Comprehensive Design Thinking became the foundation of design at Stanford University today. You’ll find similar threads in the work of other forward-looking thinkers from that time. For example, few people realize that famed management guru Peter Drucker began his career provoking business executives to develop long-range plans for “America’s Next Twenty Years” (published 1957). Austrian Friedrich von Hayek introduced a provocative theory of complex phenomena that required integrating past knowledge with future needs. And as noted by urban historian Jane Jacobs, Dr. Warren Weaver discussed the challenge of solving big problems, such as cities, that had “two billion variables.” These were timely conversations in America. The 1950s saw the start of the space age and the incipient rise of the information society. Industry leaders had to deal not just with today or tomorrow, but the speed of change that required them to face a complex and highly ambiguous future. And not simply understand that future, but to build it. Industry’s need for foresight never disappeared. The Foresight and Innovation program, which I pioneered at Stanford University starting in 2000, was established in response to industry’s call to develop leaders in long-range innovation. Part of the Foresight program develops new curriculum for students at Stanford and around the world. Starting with our earliest course that taught students how to identify and innovate with emerging technologies, our classes draw a diverse mix of students from across the Stanford campus. That first course focused on forthcoming “NBIC” innovations (an acronym for Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology, and Cognitive Science), connecting the students with NBIC topic experts, many of whom sat just down the hall from our lab. Students were pushed far beyond their experience and expectations, and

they loved it. One student reported later, “This class made my brain hurt in a good way!” Along with the students, the teaching team and I learned a lot. One of the biggest lessons was how exciting it was for students to go beyond traditional engineering and design courses. Their passion surprised me. The advanced students craved learning “how to think ahead” with foresight, and then “how to start” using the foresight methods in their lives – and in their future careers. From the experiences with students, industry partners, and other research efforts, my team has developed a new foresight model that helps companies to design tomorrow’s innovations. Our industry partners asked us to help them address not just today’s product and service design needs, nor simply tell them stories about the future, but to help them discover and capture their future opportunities. These are important distinctions. They asked us how they could better understand the different possible futures that lie ahead, develop measurable opportunities, and begin working on the most promising paths to create their companies’ future solutions. In other words, industry wanted to move from Foresight to Research to Anticipatory design. These three steps provide the core framework to our program, and the fourth step ties the system together. I. FORESIGHT The first step is developing a long-term perspective. What is the big picture today and how did we arrive here? In this initial step, the goal is to understand deeply the state of society, technology, and today that will become a complex tomorrow. II. RESEARCH The second step is finding new innovation opportunities. Working from what we know and what we can understand about the future, what sort of opportunities can we envision? III. ANTICIPATORY DESIGN The third step transitions you to future solutions, during which realizable, actionable paths to the future are developed along with actual next steps that can be pursued today. IV. INTEGRATION The final step is integration. Successful longterm innovation is predicated on connecting all of these tools and methods into a coherent process.

“Foresight is not a special way of seeing. Like any ability, foresight thinking can be taught, nurtured, and encouraged.”

As you can see, the foresight model is shown in the adjacent graphic. It provides an effective way for people to see the connections across the near-, mid-, and far-term time horizons. When we were invited to teach our foresight methods in India – with Tata, Kirloskar Brothers, Mahindra, and other globally leading companies – we used this foresight model to explore potential disruptive innovations. At the end of our program, my team and I were incredibly impressed by the employees’ desire to inject long-range foresight, opportunity research, and hands-on future prototyping insight into every stage of their research and development processes. One of the participants told us later, “The framework is great for getting new ideas adopted by R&D teams. This helps us to get the key thinking of future products functionality in synergy with surrounding reality.” Since then, we’ve led programs in foresight thinking with all types of organizations, most recently with Microsoft (who specialize in software and services) to Volvo Aero (known for advanced rocket engines). Across all efforts, our underlying goal is to introduce students of all ages to foresight thinking. We want to help them understand how one comprehensive model of foresight can stimulate long-range innovation in their own daily work – and for foresight leaders, within their business, as well as within other organizations across the globe. Foresight is not a special way of seeing. Like any ability, foresight thinking can be taught, nurtured, and encouraged. I can state this outcome with absolute certainty having watched the students at Stanford and our academic and industry partners in our global foresight network. The French novelist Charles Victor Cherbuliez put foresight thinking in perspective when he stated: “What helps luck is a habit of watching for opportunities, of having a patient, but restless mind, of sacrificing one’s ease or vanity, of uniting a love of detail to foresight, and of passing through hard times bravely and cheerfully.” This is good advice for us today, as we face new challenges in our time’s own complex and highly ambiguous future. Simply put, we are responsible for understanding our future ahead, and ultimately, to build it. And with the right foresight thinking, we can begin turning our ideas into foresight doing. William Cockayne, Ph.D. ( leads programs in comprehensive design and longrange innovation at Stanford University. Please visit our program at


William Cockayne Stanford University


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“New breakthrough ideas require a story to start and will fail the usual criteria of success.” COMMUNICATING TECHNOLOGY VISIONS Tamara Carleton Stanford University

Gordon Moore, retired chairman, CEO and co-founder of technology pioneer Intel, said once in an interview: “Except for a technology vision of where we wanted to go, we really had nothing else.” As a new idea takes shape – before a company project is first funded or the startup is founded – all the creators have is a compelling story to build interest and support. This story is the core of their vision. Radical visions of technology are particularly tricky. When no one has experienced or seen what you are talking about yet, when the product or service has never existed before, how should you start to explain your new vision? Consider the Segway transporter, the two-wheeled self-balancing scooter. Before it was built, the inventor Dean Kamen could point to partial precedents, including his previous far-reaching inventions. Kamen could also describe aloud the Segway concept, pantomime what the product might do, or draw sketches to help others to understand. Another example is EPCOT, an American vision of an idealized city in central Florida. By the early 1960s, Walt Disney had already produced the first animation film “Snow White”, as well as other celebrated characters like Mickey Mouse, so he had a strong public reputation for imagination. To build American understanding and awareness, Disney produced a short video about a new concept called EPCOT – short for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow – and broadcast it to the American public in 1966. More than a modern infomercial or cartoon, the video of EPCOT presented an accessible and engaging story of a new place where people would live, work and play. EPCOT was an idea of the time that built on the European concept of Garden Cities and the popular World Fairs.

You would never know that Walt Disney was two months away from his death; his energy and belief in the EPCOT vision is tremendous. The potential payoff for a radical technological innovation is high, as well as the corresponding risk. Radical ideas in technology are typically pushing the limits in multiple ways, including harnessing emerging and often partially defined technologies, developing new commercial models, and changing industry paradigms. The team behind the Eclipse 500 jet has a vision to change all those dimensions in the market of very light jets. As you would expect, by introducing any of these variables into the broader innovation process, effective communication is further complicated in the early stages. Often, I am asked how radical technological innovations can be identified as radical. Many research studies evaluate innovations solely as commercial successes. Innovations are successful in terms of financial outcome, specifically meeting management’s expected sales, profits, market share, and return on investment. This test makes sense. In many ways, innovation is simply an invention that sells. Financial success provides a simple and objective baseline of measurement. For radical innovations, this default definition presents a thorny issue. There is an assumption that all innovations are predicated on financial results. Many experts today consider the Apple iPod to be a successful example of a highly radical technological innovation, and most would argue that the product was radically innovative from the start. However, if the iPod was measured solely in terms of financial profit based on its first few years on the market, then its proof as a successful innovation is not as strong or convincing.

Radical innovations may be truly radical and inDisney shared not only his vision that one eve- novative without necessarily producing monetary ning on national TV, he showed future visionaries gains. There are at least three ways to be conhow to present a radical dream. Part of his prem- sidered radically innovative. An innovation could ise was to engage companies to continually test create an entirely new market or product categoand showcase their best technology ideas at EP- ry, such as the Honda Insight, the first American COT. He reminded viewers that all the sketches hybrid vehicle that laid the foundation for other and examples shown were only a starting point in cars like the Toyota Prius to follow. Or an innovation might generate a significantly new customer the conceptualization: base but still not produce revenue, such as Nap“EPCOT will take its cue from the new ideas and ster, the original file-sharing service for music. Or new technologies that are now emerging from an innovation may introduce a new technological the creative centers of American industry. It will application that is recast as novel or revolutionary be a community of tomorrow that will never be in a different market without generating lasting completed, but will always be introducing, test- financial returns. This would be the adoption of William ing, andCockayne demonstrating new materials and new text messaging in the U.S., years after it was a widespread phenomenon in Europe. Let us reStanford University systems.” turn to the Segway example. It was the world’s A MAGAZINE FROM THE DIVISION OF FUNCTIONAL PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AT LULEÅ UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY - 13 -

first self-balancing mobility solution, yet the Segway has never been truly profitable as a product, particularly as wildly predicted in the early 2000s for broad commuter adoption. Instead, financial analysts have seen steady growth rates of the product within niche markets, such as law enforcement agencies, and the novelty and publicity of the Segway have helped to raise public awareness about accelerometers in other consumer products. When all innovation is predicated on financial success, can the Segway be radically innovative and financially unsuccessful at the same time? There is another problem in using the common test of success. Financial information about a radical innovation must be available and unambiguous. However, during the early stages, radical technological ideas are still in development and commercially untested. The teams and their sponsors are taking a calculated bet that the idea will be tremendously profitable and disruptive, but only time will truly tell. Historical analysis will identify radical innovations clearly in terms of success and failure, but investigation of contemporary or budding innovations for the future require different metrics. In short, measuring only financial results for a radical innovation presents a partial view. Researchers may entirely miss radical innovations that had a major market impact or influence during their early development. Instead, radical innovations can be identified through other practical tests during the early stages. One possible method uses third-party experts, such as serial innovators or venture capitalists in the field, to gain an impartial evaluation and help confirm the strong potential for technological originality and uniqueness. Once you have a good working sense of a radical innovation, then the next step is to engage others in building and creating it. My research at Stanford University is digging deeper into the specific question of how to communicate visions of radical technology in the beginning of the innovation process. Radically new ideas in technology may require radically different approaches to facilitate understanding of the unfamiliar and strange. This is the wonderful question that is keeping me up at night. Tamara Carleton ( is the Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium Research Fellow. She is a doctoral candidate at Stanford University and welcomes hearing from companies interested in participating in her global data collection.


“An underpinning logic is to make different competences and perspectives visible to enlighten a design problem from multiple angles.” Inspired by the work at the Stanford, a radical innovation approach that offers people in product development companies capabilities to identify, define, attack and solve a wicked design assignment has been introduced by the FPD division. “Eureka! I have an idea!” Mostly, ideas seem to appear from the thin air, when you at least expect them. Can you make them happen at a time when you need them? For example, when you and your design team aim for a radical new product that solves your potential customers’ problems and exceeds their expectations. A dilemma is that few facts and measures exist in the early development stage; this is particularly true for new products or innovations. Doing as usual, taking the initial problem for granted, assuming that all aspects are known and that all involved have a shared vision of the design task is risky. Based on a tailor-made process, a radical innovation workshop embarks from a situation where a design problem is identified and defined. The creative sessions dedicated to attacking and solving the design problem are supported by a diverse set of methods, techniques and tools. Some are apt to generate numerous of ideas, e.g., creative method cards or posters, some aim to support communication to others, e.g., ‘quick and dirty’ prototypes or sketches, and some assist the evaluation of ideas, for instance cuddle toys… cuddle toys!? Yes, they are used to assign a role to the participants, for example, if you get the shark you should attack the prevailing argument and ask critical questions, if you get the donkey you should be stubborn and ask why again and again, and the giraffe can see and summarize the issue from above in a more holistic perspective. By assigning people a certain role it is easier to question an idea, thus avoiding groupthink and instead make multiple perspectives come into play. The radical innovation workshop is part of an overall process called 4I4I (four I:s for innovation). The 4I4I process includes several creative methods and tools to go from the understanding

of human needs to a product concept. An underpinning logic is to make different competences and perspectives visible to enlighten a design problem from multiple angles. The workshops are facilitated, i.e., the process is managed to make sure that all participants are allowed to express their ideas, but also that they listen to and build upon each others ideas. The contents are owned by the participants, thus empowering them to make the ideas come true in a real situation.


Innovations are important for the companies to stay competitive and provide customers with perceived value. All companies deal with incremental innovations, that is, improving their existing products on a scheduled basis. Few companies have a radical innovation approach – thus, lacking a coherent way to deal with the situation. Just running ahead and solve the most obvious problem can be a costly trial and error process. The word ‘radical’ highlights two aspects. First, radical describes the level of novelty in the solution, that is, a solution that previously has been unknown to many. Second, radical describes the approach needed. For newcomers a radical innovation approach seems extreme, the elements of play and laughter can fool anyone that it is not serious work. Anyone that has participated in such a workshop can certify that it is exhausting, but also rewarding. As some of our industrial participants say: “I like the simple, creative style of the workshop, it makes everyone engaged and we dare to communicate our ideas to others.” “I like when we openly can discuss problems and opportunities and come up with constructive solutions.” “It was a good and pedagogical process. The facilitators adapted to the group. A lot of examples from reality, which gave credibility.” Peter Törlind (, Mikael Nybacka ( and Åsa Ericson ( are exploring radical innovation at the Division of Functional Product Development at Luleå University of Technology.


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Peter Törlind Mikael Nybacka Åsa Ericson FUNKTIONEERING MAGAZINE, No. 1, February 2009


Malte Jung & Neeraj Sonalkar Stanford University

Innovation is a highly sought-after outcome in businesses and organizations around the world. The ability to create something new and valuable – new products, new markets, new wealth, and new well-being – is recognized as the biggest driver for success. However, with recognition comes a mad frenzy to jump on the innovation bandwagon. Consultants peddle a plethora of methods and models designed to make an organization innovative and popular writers churn book after book on the coveted topic. So how do we separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff? How can we truly understand what’s behind the creation of a new idea? The current collaboration between the Division of Functional Product Development at Luleå University of Technology and the Center for Design Research at Stanford is a step in that direction. We don’t claim to have all the answers, but we have some notions supported by past and on-going research, and teaching. Here’s what we think… Once upon a time …an innovation story: A team of three engineers located at a German University and a team of three engineers located at Stanford University collaborate together for a 6 month design project. The project objective is to find a solution to the question: “How can we introduce the concept of fitness into the car? Team 1 starts by carefully analyzing the given problem space and structuring it into different problem categories. Very early on they decide to focus on the category of driving-fitness with the goal of making driving safer by giving people accurate feedback about the state of their vehicle. The requirements for the proposed solution are fixed early on, a plan is made, and the team implements the solution very elegantly. However during actual user testing at the end it turns out that the solution is a failure. The feedback mechanisms don’t have the desired impact on behavior. The people end up not driving more safely but far more risky because their perception of control of the vehicle has increased. In contrast, Team 2 does not focus on a solution upfront. They wander along for a long time. They experiment with various ideas like putting a punching ball and cycling pedals in the car. Then they realize from a physical therapist that the movement of the spine is important while sitting to regulate blood flow. This prompts them to ask a bold question: What if they could move the seat while driving, but to do this in a way that is below the perception level so that the driver doesn’t actually notice anything? They develop the idea, and are able to show in user tests that it has the desired effect.

”They choose to preserve the ambiguity and improvise to the rhythm and moves of things as they happen – without too much planning, and a bit like dancing.” Why did the two teams behave so differently? What enabled Team 2 to create a truly innovative idea, while Team 1 executed a well-structured but incremental idea? There could be a number of factors that affect the innovation behavior of teams. However one of the most crucial ones to begin with is how we perceive the problem that we are creating solutions for. A number of economists like Douglas North and Herbert Simon, and design researchers like Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber have recognized that complex problems such as the one in the example above can be ergodic (structured) or non-ergodic (unstructured). This distinction refers to the nature of the problem itself. Examples like the one above with the two teams however suggest that it is not the inherent nature of the problem that defines it as messy or well-defined. It is rather how we perceive it to be. The problem given to both teams was the same, yet the teams perceived it differently. Team 1 thought of the design problem as ergodic and structured. Ergodic thinking is thinking about the world as fundamentally categorizable and static. It is a mindset that promotes analysis and structured decomposition of problems into simpler categories. Team 2 thought of the problem as non-ergodic. Non-ergodic thinking is thinking about the world as constantly changing and dynamic. It is a mindset that promotes experimenting and poking into solutions rather than breaking down a problem into simpler components.

Both ergodic and non-ergodic mindsets are helpful but in different ways. An ergodic mindset is a helpful way of thinking in order to achieve a goal fast and with a minimum of resources. However it only works if we have a clearly defined target. Finding an innovative target is more likely if we do not think about the world in predefined theories and categories. To find something truly innovative we have to be open to surprise ourselves when we study the problem. We need to cultivate a non-ergodic mindset. Tim Ingold, a British social anthropologist tells a story about the Orochon hunters of the northcentral Sakhalin, in the Russian Far East, in his book the Brief History of Lines. When they start on a hunt, they follow a way of walking he calls as ‘wayfaring’. They wander along circuitous paths looking for animals to hunt and exploring the forest. When they kill an animal, they store it at a place and continue on their exploring. Later when they want to retrieve the day’s catch, they go straight to the spot where the animal is stored and bring it home. This ‘straight’ way of walking is what Tim calls ‘transporting’. Innovation is more about wayfaring than about transporting. It is not that transporting is not required – it is required to bring your catch home, to implement your idea. However, you do not starting hunting for innovation by transporting! An ergodic mindset promotes transporting. A non-ergodic mindset promotes wayfaring. Team 2 was wayfaring when they tried putting punch bags in car and when they stumbled onto the physical therapist who triggered their ‘catch’! Our professor Larry Leifer uses another phrase to describe innovating - ‘Dancing with Ambiguity’. The innovators do not plan everything that is coming up next. They choose to preserve the ambiguity and improvise to the rhythm and moves of things as they happen – without too much planning, and a bit like dancing. So how do we cultivate a non-ergodic mindset? How do we wayfare? How do we develop an attitude of dancing with ambiguity? The truth is that we do not know all the answers yet. But the first step is to be aware that innovation does not lie in blindly following a process, but in cultivating a non-ergodic mindset and allowing ourselves the permission to wayfare. So the next time, you get an impulse to completely plan your project, take a pause, have a loose overall plan, but leave enough room for some non-ergodic wayfaring!

The two ways to look at the same problem are a little bit like the picture of the old and young lady (above). It is one picture but it can be perceived as depicting either an old or a young woman. Which one we see depends on our past experience and education.


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Malte Jung and Neeraj Sonalkar are PhD students at the Center for Design Research at Stanford University. Their work on team based innovation in collaboration with Luleå University of Technology’s Functional Product Development group is currently being supported by a grant from the Kempe Foundations.




In November 2008, an international workshop was held with the goal to explore methodologies for scientifically sound research experiments in the LTU Design Observatory in Luleå, Sweden. Neeraj Sonalkar and Malte Jung, both visiting doctoral students from Stanford University, facilitated this workshop, or as they expressed it themselves; prototyped it together with the rest of the participants. Malte and Neeraj shared their research methodology, VInMe, Video Interaction Methodology. An underpinning aspect of the workshop was that there is not just one way of doing research but many and the point of this workshop was to share the experiences. During the week a whole cycle of a research project was performed, downsized so that it would fit during one week. The goal was to share experiences of doing observations and video analysis and also to design experiments and understand what to think about in these situations. The week started off with all participants clarifying their foundation and passion in their respective research areas so that we would, as a group understand the different research interests in the upcoming experiments. During the week we also touched on how to explore interesting aspects of a design session and how to research these aspects more rigorously. A video meeting finished off the week. Representatives from CADlab in Zagreb, Politecnico di Torino, University of Bath, and Grenoble Institute of Technology participated in the meeting.


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The participants in the workshop were; Philip Cash (University of Bath, UK), Hanh Vu-Thi and Serap Arikoglu (Grenoble Institute of Technology, FR), Neeraj Sonalkar and Malte Jung (Stanford University, US) and Mattias Bergström from Luleå University of Technology. From LTU, Peter Törlind and Andreas C. Larsson also participated in parts of the workshop. FUNKTIONEERING MAGAZINE, No. 1, February 2009

The Division of Functional Product Development and the Product Innovation Engineering program (PIEp) co-organized a workshop on the theme ‘Turning Foresight Thinking into Action’, held at Stanford University between March 31 and April 4, 2008. The workshop drew a total of 25 participants from Luleå University of Technology, Lund University, Royal Institute of Technology, Center for Technology, Medicine, and Health and Jönköping University. Professor Larry Leifer from Stanford’s Center for Design Research and Dr. William Cockayne from Stanford’s Center for Critical Foresight facilitated the workshop, noting that innovation doesn’t occur overnight. In order to be an innovator, you have to take a longterm approach.



The workshop gave participants a new set of tools for and experience in long-range innovation for developing strategic business opportunities. During the week, participants explored critical foresight, anticipatory research, and comprehensive design within teams and identified prospects for increasing the level of innovation in their respective domains. Multiple team exercises enabled hands-on learning, with examples drawn from a widearray of industry studies and on-going projects at the university. As part of the workshop, participants also had a chance to visit the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford (, as well as the Bay Area design firms Jump Associates, Speck Design, Astro Studios and Smart Design.



In June 2008, Peter Törlind from the Division of Functional Product Development attended the course ‘Managing Teams for Innovation and Success’ at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Peter tells his impressions from the course: “As an assistant professor, it’s important that you still have a personal development. As a Ph.D. student you always attend courses, and I truly believe that you must continue to be inspired and learn all the time.” In our division, we have personal development plans suited to our goals and expectations and which are also matched with both the division strategy and the overall LTU strategy. The course that I attended at Stanford was quite demanding (course days from 8 am to 9 pm every day) and lecturers included Bob Sutton, Margarete Neale och Greg Northcraft. The participants in the course were from the whole world; USA, South America, Scandinavia, India, Australia, China, Japan, France and Portugal. To read a course with a very high diversity is demanding but really adds value, you can discuss similarities and differences between different countries, branches, cultures and regions. For me, one of the best moments in the course was the one day workshop at IDEO, one of the most famous design firms in the world. It’s interesting to see that our approach that we teach in our Product Development course is as good as what they teach.”


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In November 2008, the Division of Functional Product Development at LTU and the Center for Foresight and Innovation at Stanford University joined forces to create a series of three workshops on the topic “From Foresight to Design”. Instructors were William Cockayne and Tamara Carleton from Stanford University. The first workshop was held in Luleå within the Faste Laboratory (VINNOVA VINN Excellence Centre), the second was held in Stockholm within PIEp (Product Innovation Engineering programme, also supported by VINNOVA), and the third was held in Trollhättan within the Volvo Group. In total, the workshops drew 52 participants from both academia and industry. A MAGAZINE FROM THE DIVISION OF FUNCTIONAL PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AT LULEÅ UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

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MAKING ROOM FOR CREATIVITY Both Stanford University and Luleå University of Technology have a long history of prototyping and creating spaces that facilitate creativity, and where design team activities can be instrumented, observed, and analyzed to improve the performance of both local and global design teams. The properties of the space is of importance for the design team as the space itself influences the activities, hence a space may be designed to actively facilitate collaborative behavior.


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“About Mímir...” “...lack of access to pure drinking water is one of the key issues facing the world today.” LTU students, in collaboration with students from Stanford University, Royal Institute of Technology and Lund Faculty of Engineering, were given the task to develop a product that produces clean drinking water from air humidity. During Design EXPE, the annual design fair at Stanford University, the students presented the Mímir prototype, named after the Norse mythology’s guardian of the well of knowledge and wisdom. Water is the most precious resource known to mankind. Its importance to the survival of life on the planet can hardly be overemphasized. However, lack of access to pure drinking water is one of the key issues facing the world today. Traditional sources such as rivers, lakes and ground water have proved to be highly unreliable sources of drinking water. Therefore, there is a need to develop a novel, innovative technology that is more reliable and is able to produce pure, safe drinking water at all locations even under adverse environmental conditions. With this vision in mind, the design team set on the task to design and develop a new generation Atmospheric Water Generator to harness nature’s most abundant resource: Air. The project was founded by the US company Immerse Global and the Swedish PIEp. The design team had a unique setting of members from four different Universities – Helsinki University of Technology, Lund Faculty of Engineering, Luleå University of Technology, Royal Institute of Technology and Stanford University. Since the most critical objective of the project was reliable water production, the team decided to fo-

cus primarily on the technical aspects of water generation. During the benchmarking process various processes and technologies prevalent in the water processing industry was explored. The team believes that successful generation of drinking water in arid zones (with relative humidity as low as 20%) would require the development of a better technology. Therefore, all its efforts from the very beginning were geared towards the search of a new technology that would give a marked improvement in performance over all the current designs. Based on the encouraging results of the initial prototypes, the team pursued with chemical substances that have a natural tendency to absorb atmospheric moisture. Based on extensive prototyping and testing the team demonstrated the practical feasibility of the technology and employed the technology in the final prototype, Mímir. Mímir produces pure, cheap and fresh drinking water under a wide range of atmospheric conditions. It produces water that is not only cheaper than bottled water but is also environmental friendly. The acrylic based exteriors, new look and the unique interface of Mímir provides a complete drinking experience to the user. Mímir has been a breakthrough in the technology and design front, but further testing and optimization is needed before the product could be introduced on the market. Many new aspects of optimization have been realized in the development process and with this knowledge the team has no doubt that the product has a great potential of fulfilling most of the drinking water needs of the world in near future.


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At Luleå University of Technology, a spectacular physical environment has been realised to explore and evaluate research issues within global collaborative design. In design research, some of the most crucial research issues include: • How to measure design performance? • How to realise, evaluate physical and virtual environments? • How to evaluate new technology in ‘real’ engineering projects? To explore these research issues the LTU Design Observatory has been realised through the support of a large joint donation from the Kempe Foundations and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. The goal for the design Observatory was “to create an innovative experimental environment within the area of distributed collaboration where visions can be realised, tested and evaluated in real product development projects in collaboration with industry”.

The design was a multidisciplinary effort where the design evolved trough a series of workshops which involved researchers, architects, artists and Audio/Video-professionals to ensure a visionary and robust design. The LTU Design Observatory is designed to provide researchers with a flexible environment for design research. The environment is designed to incorporate both informal and formal meeting spaces. The ‘Green Room’ has been designed for informal communication, where ambient technology is used, seamlessly integrated in the building itself. Two design spaces are designed similar to a theatre, with ‘stage sets’ (i.e. movable walls, flexible bus controlled lightning and a variety of interaction devices and displays) that can quickly be configured to the specific needs of the researcher. Both spaces are also equipped with lighting trusses to enable flexible lighting design and a raised floor is used to encase all wiring. The technology in the studio is based on digital audio and

high definition video distribution, which can be routed internally for real time presentation and recorded for later analysis. The design observatory is also designed to replicate distributed work by dividing a local group into two groups located in two studios, forcing the group to use collaboration technologies (i.e. video conference, shared tools, etc.) to communicate and thus create an environment for complex distributed in-situ observation of design teamwork as it unfolds. Interaction in the design observatory can also be followed either from an observation bridge or, for a larger audience, on a large screen in an adjacent studio. The LTU Design Observatory is now a hub for international collaborative research in engineering design with researchers from University of Bath, UK; Stanford University, US; Grenoble Institute of Technology, FR; Politecnico di Torino, IT, and University of Zagreb, HR. Peter Törlind (, Scientific Director, LTU Design Observatory.

“The LTU Design Observatory is designed to provide researchers with a flexible environment for design research.”


Peter Törlind


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has little to do with legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s notion of ‘functioneering’ as “putting the architecture on the outside”. On the contrary, funktioneering is much more about delivering content than putting up a facade. Customers in a wide variety of markets are increasingly asking for ‘services’ rather than ‘products’, for ‘experiences’ rather than ‘things’ and to meet these demands, product developing companies need to rise to the occasion by putting careful attention to how such functions could be developed to meet these needs to the highest possible degree. Funktioneering is the art and science of understanding which functions customers really need, and designing and engineering the function-carrying components of such ‘total’ product offers. What about the ‘funk’? Well, just like the music genre, funktioneering needs to draw its inspiration from an eclectic mix of people, domains, and skills - and yet deliver a seamless and wellcomposed user experience.



FUNKTIONEERING Magazine, No 1, 2009  

FUNKTIONEERING MAGAZINE is published by the Division of Functional Product Development at Luleå University of Technology, Sweden. This inaug...