Innovation & Entrepeneurship
Edited book, 2013
In a world that is getting increasingly connected and where globalism is a fact, the need to understand and communicate with researchers and engineers from different cultural backgrounds becomes very important. As a researcher, it is your task to constantly question things and to find better solutions to problems. On the surface the differences between conducting research and business in California or Sweden might not be so different, there are computers, IT-services and movies that makes California feel close and uncomplicated... but is there something beneath the surface? What makes Silicon Valley and Hollywood so dominant in their businesses and what is so special about California that makes almost every business want to be present here, from the big automotive companies to the small start up? It is with this background and the desire to learn more about product development that we chose to undertake yet another international product development excursion and travel to California to explore the culture and specifically their view on product development.
The researchers in the group are members of the two Swedish National Research schools in product development and Innovation named ProViking and PIEp. All researchers are focused on different subjects within the umbrella of product development and connected to different industries. In order to further penetrate the subjects of interest the participants were divided into five groups according to their research interests:
• Technology Development / Advanced Engineering
• Product development Processes and Methods
• Innovation and Management
• Quality and Robustness in Design
• Advanced materials and manufacturing processes
The planning of the doctoral course and the trip took about one year to complete. We wanted to visit a diversity of Californian industries and research centers. The first workshop was set up in Gothenburg, Sweden, for three days in 2011. This was followed up by a workshop in Stockholm a few months later. We visited electronic industry, software developers, start-ups, research groups and institutions and attended stimulating speeches. Moreover, we focused specifically also on the role of the science park in Lindholmen, Göteborg and the telecom cluster in Kista, Stockholm.
When we arrived in California and San Francisco in February 2012, we had a full program for the following two weeks. The first days was spent in and around San Francisco in the Silicon Valley area. We got to visit both exciting start-ups as well as established global companies and got to learn about the spirit of the Valley. For the second week we got to visit southern California represented by both a Hollywood film company and the most complex piece of product we have ever seen, the Curiosity Mars rover.
So what is it all about, the spirit of Silicon Valley and the easy going Californian culture? Well we hope that this report will give some of the answers to the success of the Californian enterprises and what we can learn and take with us home to Sweden.