Development leaps through innovation


A Swedish state agency wanted to strengthen their innovation capability to achieve their strategic goals and create greater benefits to customers, operations, and society.

In the role as Agile Innovation Coach, Influence reviewed their needs and helped develop understanding, leadership, frameworks, and operational efforts through a range of activities towards different target groups over a period of 1,5 years.

We helped the organisation think anew about known and unknown problems and create progress at both strategi and operational level by utilising frameworks and practices within innovation management, design thinking and collective intelligence.

How can we utilise innovation to make development leaps needed to achieve our strategic goals and create greater benefits to customers, operations, and society? How can we develop our innovation capability so that innovation becomes a natural part of our development efforts? These inquiries framed the assignment of helping a Swedish state agency develop their innovation capability.


In a turbulent world of accelerating technological development and sustainability challenges, the public sector needs to innovate and transform to keep up with development in society, stay relevant, and meet growing expectations from stakeholders such as owners and customers. Coming from a history of relatively stable operations and operating conditions, many public organisations find it challenging to level up the pace, progressiveness, and value of their development efforts. 

This was also the case at a Swedish state agency. They realised that development leaps are needed to achieve their strategic goals and create greater benefits to customers, operations, and society. Consequently, they decided to develop their innovation capability so that innovation becomes a natural part of their development efforts. More specifically, they highlighted the need to make a shift, both in terms of culture and behaviours, as well as ensuring frameworks and tools that stimulate and facilitate innovation. 

In the role as Agile Innovation Coach over a period of 1,5 years, Influence was tasked to lead development of the organisation’s innovation capability: “You are involved in driving/coaching how the development of tomorrow’s services and offers should be conducted in the best way to promote innovation, which includes both structure and culture for innovation at several different levels. You are expected to influence, develop, and refine both how we work and how we lead the innovation work.”

What we did

We started out by mapping stakeholder perspectives on innovation, the strategic agenda of the organisation, and more specific needs, strengths, barriers, opportunities, and ideas related to innovation.  

The findings were summarised and used to define and align the onward journey, including four cornerstones in development of innovation capability

  1. Innovation understanding 
  1. Innovation leadership 
  1. Innovation frameworks 
  1. Innovation efforts 


The first cornerstone was about creating a deeper and shared understanding of innovation in relation to the organisation and our human nature, including topics such as: 

  • Definition of innovation and what it means to us 
  • Barriers and drivers of innovation 
  • Implications for development of innovation capability 


Secondly, we explored how to navigate uncertainty, complexity, and the need for innovation by developing attitudes and behaviours that promote innovation along dimensions such as: 

  • Leadership in a turbulent and complex world (VUCA) 
  • Smarter collaboration around innovation 
  • Innovation culture 


Thirdly, we introduced and aligned frameworks to support, target, and create space for innovative efforts on dimensions including: 

  • Work processes and methods 
  • Goal- and portfolio management 
  • Allocation and organization of resources 


Last, but not least, we worked to strengthen the tactical and operational innovation capability – with particular focus on mobilization, exploration, creativity, and learning – covering themes such as: 

  • Portfolio management 
  • Mobilization of efforts and teams 
  • Idea and concept development 
  • Evaluation and learning 


Summarised, we helped create good conditions for innovation and continued development of innovation capabilities through the following deliveries: 

  • Defined four cornerstones for development of innovation capacity based on initial needs mapping through conversations with key people in the organisation. 
  • Carried out several training activities and developed a digital e-learning solution with five tracks for different target groups and competence needs. 
  • Established frameworks for innovation integrated with other development frameworks, from operational innovation process and tools to strategic and tactical portfolio management. 
  • Carried out several operational innovation efforts such as development of a framework for customer benefit metrics.