The Innovation Enabler
When it comes to fostering the innovation culture at Wärtsilä Services, Eleonor Hedström has a key role. Working behind the scenes as Innovation Manager, she coordinates activities relating to the innovation culture and makes sure that the needed elements are in place for employees to come up with great ideas. Eleonor Hedström’s job is instrumental in enabling ideas to be channelled into concrete solutions for customers.
What are the most important ingredients when it comes to fostering an innovation culture?
“There are many necessary ingredients, but the most important one is to recognize that fostering any culture is about people involvement – to connect colleagues but also enable people to make use of processes and tools. You have to build trust through actions e.g. ideas should be handled and idea originators should receive feedback on their ideas. You have to connect with people and make sure to maintain that connection. Tools and processes can facilitate but it’s people who build the culture.”
What moments do you find particularly rewarding in your work?
“It’s fulfilling to know you can bring value by doing the things you enjoy to do. I also find it rewarding to see an idea developed into a new offering or operational improvements, and to show employees that their contributions really do make a difference. One example is the Wärtsilä EnergoProFin, an energy saving propeller cap with fins, rotating together with the propeller. The development of this energy saving device started with two ideas shared in our idea handling tool. The ideas were then further elaborated in a workshop with colleagues from various parts in the company and a cross divisional team turned the ideas into the solution.”
When do you come up with your best ideas?
“I think that the best ideas come to me when I have time for reflection, like when I’m out walking my dog. My calendar tend to be full with activities but in the end you really benefit from some free time as well.”