Donal Reddington on mass customization, crowdsourcing and digital manufacturing


Nordic countries take lead in user-centred innovation

A few developments have taken place in the Nordic countries recently that seem to suggest a more advanced enthusiasm for and understanding of user-centred innovation.

Previously, I wrote about how the Danish government has become the first in the world to establish as a national priority, in the words of a government policy statement, “strengthening user-centered innovation”.  Part of the initiative is the Danish User-Centered Innovation Lab, hosted by Copenhagen Business School and staffed by professors from both CBS and the Aarhus School of Business. The goal of the Danish User-Centered Innovation Lab is to help bring Danish firms to the world forefront with respect to the profitable exploitation of leading-edge user-centered methods for product and service development.

Earlier this year, the Nordic Innovation Centre (NICe) launched User Driven Innovation as a new theme within its Nordic Innovation Policies’ focus area. The NICe invited Nordic actors from national and regional public bodies, business sector, trade and industry federations, innovation institutes, research institutions, and other relevant organizations to submit project proposals aimed at policy development in support of user-driven innovation.

Under this initiative, NICe will be investing up to NOK 12 million (1.4 million Euro) to support a portfolio of projects focusing on activities in support of user-driven innovation. It is expected that the portfolio will be comprised of 5-10 projects, each with a duration of 6-36 months.

The NICe is the Nordic Council of Ministers single most important instrument for promoting an innovative and knowledge-intensive Nordic business sector.

The Nordic Council is the forum for inter-parliamentary co-operation involving five Nordic countries and three autonomous territories.

In a separate development, a network of companies, designers, researchers and organisations In Denmark are joining forces to write a script covering user-driven innovation. The purpose is that in the future, other players may utilize the pilot project’s experiences. The trade organisation Dansk Erhverv (Danish Chamber of Commerce) will carry out the pilot project together with i.a. Danske Designere, Dansk Design Center , Odgaard Consult, Gemba Innovation and the Capital Region of Denmark.

Nordic countries have generally scored highly in various measures of innovation, and these developments suggest that they may already be ahead in the area of user-centred innovation also.

Note:  Some of the items above were brought to my attention via the excellent ‘Putting People First‘ blog, which is a ‘non-commercial experience design gateway’, developed as a public service to all those interested in the broader field of experience design and user-centred design.  Putting People First is maintained by Mark Vanderbeeken of the Italy-based experience design company Experientia with the support of his business partners and his readers.

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One Response to “Nordic countries take lead in user-centred innovation”

  1. Kjell Green Says:

    In Sweden there is a sales configurator on the market to help companies with mass customizable products.
    The software is called Combinum and has a promising future as easy to maintain rules and with a neat web interface for the customer.

    Corrected links

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