Volvo Corporate Innovation Office
Solving society’s riddles
At Volvo’s Corporate Innovation Office, re-inventing the in-car experience is part of the everyday.
Great ideas come from within
When Volvo presented its inflatable child seat concept to the public a couple of years ago, its innovative design gained international recognition. This compact little creation weighed a mere five kilos, was capable of self-inflating in less than forty seconds and could fit neatly inside a normal-sized rucksack when not in use. The inflatable child seat concept is just one of many successful innovations to have come from Karin André and the team at Volvo’s Corporate Innovation Office.
“We’re always curious and open to new ideas,” explains Karin. “We get a lot of information, and inspiration, from studying customer behaviour and the challenges facing society – both today and in the future. Most of our ideas, however, come from within. From our dedicated colleagues around the world.”
In order to collect these ideas, Volvo organises an annual global innovation week known officially as Innovation GiG – Global Idea Generation.
The pleasure of problem solving
“Innovation GiG is all about collecting ideas from our different departments around the world. Thousands of people take part. And when it’s over, we usually have several hundred new ideas that we can take back to our labs and start working on. If we discover an idea with real potential, and which measures up to our demands, then we take it to the next stage of development.”
There are certain challenges, however, that Karin and the team at Corporate Innovations especially love trying to solve. “The most interesting projects are the ones that involve trying to solve one of society’s problems. Where we take a challenge society is currently facing and attempt to turn it into an opportunity. We have just started working on such a project. The goal is to investigate and discover ways in which we can re-use materials and products that we no longer use in our cars.”
It’s been said that when you work with what you are passionate about, it isn’t work at all. It’s a pleasure. And as Karin and her dedicated team start work on their next project, I’m sure they would agree. For the rest of us, the pleasure comes from seeing what they will come up with next.