A true innovation pathway through the company
4 JULY 2022
As two teams from Scania’s Innovation Factory join Mobility Solutions to continue developing their business ideas, we speak to several of those involved in an initiative that’s vital for Scania’s future.
In recent years, Scania has put sharper focus on developing its entrepreneurial qualities - because they will help the company create innovative business models for adapting to the future transport system.
One of the key initiatives supporting this approach is Innovation Factory, which was established in 2019. Anyone working anywhere at Scania can submit an idea for consideration. Several teams of four people are then granted six months’ leave from their normal jobs and given SEK 500,000 funding - plus support and guidance from Innovation Factory - to develop their respective ideas into actual commercial propositions, and perhaps eventually independent entities.
As Anton Wieselblad, responsible for Innovation Factory, explains, there are three key objectives behind this initiative:
“Firstly, it’s a way for our employees, no matter what they do in the organisation, to exploit a new business opportunity for Scania in an entrepreneurial format,” he says.
“Secondly, we’re developing the people engaged in the process to adopt entrepreneurial ways of working. No matter the outcome of the business idea, Scania still benefits from people being trained and developed as entrepreneurs, and they can then spread that capability throughout the organisation.
“And, of course, it’s also about creating business output. The successful cases contribute to new revenue streams for Scania.”
Two Innovation Factory teams move to Mobility Solutions
Another key initiative to increase Scania’s focus on future business models, was the establishment of Mobility Solutions in April 2021. The business area assigns, develops and grows new businesses outside Scania’s core functions. Mobility Solutions targets new customers to drive Scania’s forward integration, and to broaden the company’s horizons from being purely a vehicle OEM to playing a greater role in the transportation ecosystem.
While the pandemic temporarily slowed Innovation Factory’s progress, the seeds of this initiative are now bearing fruit. In late April 2022, for the first time, two teams from Innovation Factory were transferred to Scania Ventures at Mobility Solutions. There, they are working to scale the business ideas that have been validated to make them ready for the markets.
Viktor Olsson, Viktoria Kindesjö and Jacob Sörme
The Elain team – Ebba Blomberg Cedergren, Viktoria Kindesjö, Viktor Olsson and Jacob Sörme – is working on its measuring tool software for CO2 emissions. Using primary data collected from transport operators’ vehicles, Elain’s vision is to aggregate this data with order systems such as transport management systems plus vehicle and fuel data, so that buyers of transport services can see at a very detailed level how many emissions resulted from their order. They can then look at those fleets and what vehicles were used, with the ability to accurately assess and address sustainability performance.
“We’re working closely with some of Europe’s biggest fuel suppliers,” says Jacob Sörme, the team’s Product Lead.
“Some have digital solutions, some don’t. We are convincing them that our shared customers can get value out of this. It’s not just about supplying the fuel today but the whole system package; as a customer you can easily see what fuels your transport supplier are using. If a haulier invests in biofuels or replaces a vehicle with a newer model, you can really see the results because the data is exact and not an estimate.”
Elsa Westin, David Ahlbeck, Christian Illanes and Henrik Eliasson
Meanwhile, the Gaia Gen team – David Ahlbeck, Henrik Eliasson, Christian Illanes and Elsa Westin – is also working on a technology that identifies CO2 emissions. But its focus is on the IT sector, whose carbon footprint is often overlooked. Gaia Gen aims to help developers ‘code green’ by measuring the climate impact of the software architecture that they create.
“We are software-as-a-service solution,” explains Elsa Westin, the team’s Sustainability Lead.
“Our tool visualises the greenhouse gas emissions from IT systems, and we want to help developers to optimise for sustainability when they build their system architecture. They do that today with security or costs or uptime and performance in mind. We just want to add sustainability to that perspective.”
Both Elsa and Jacob highlight the boost that Scania and Innovation Factory has given their teams. As Elsa says, “We wouldn’t be where we are today with this if it wasn’t for Innovation Factory. I think having that channel of getting support and extra teaching of how to ‘dress up’ innovation is so important.”
Cindi Lindsborg, Acting Head of Mobility Solutions, has been impressed by the new teams’ progress so far.
“They’re super-engaged and have been well trained at Innovation Factory; now the challenge is to take it to the next step. At Mobility Solutions there will be less coaching and more focus on business building to encourage growth.
“We hope both teams will make good progress and that we can continue to scale up the business opportunities after this six-month period. Looking ahead, I’m expecting Innovation Factory to be part of our in-bound funnel of ideas.”
An initiative that Scania should be proud of
For Anton Wieselblad, the integration of the two teams into the Scania organisation proper is testament to the value of Innovation Factory.
“We’ve now established this true innovation pathway through the company,” he says.
“It means that any Scania employee who has a good business idea for Scania can build a team, come and get funding and support for it, and actually get the opportunity to test it in the market, with the chance of scaling it up if they are successful.
“I think that’s cool and something that a big industrial company like Scania should be very proud of. I hope we can inspire many more to contribute ideas in time to come.”
What will the future of transport look like? Scania’s research and development organisation develops products, services and solutions providing optimal levels of quality, efficiency and customer profitability. Innovations are largely focused on low-carbon transport, electrification and autonomous transport solutions.