Swedes experience a decrease in innovativeness after the pandemic according to the Swedish Innovation Index2023-06-07
The capacity for innovation has decreased according the latest results by the Swedish Innovation Index where the Service Research Center (CTF) at Karlstad University asked thousands of customers to rank the innovativeness of Swedish companies, organisations and authorities. Ikea is seen as the most innovative Swedish company, whereas Lyko ranks at the top in terms of digitalisation, which is an important factor in the way innovativeness is perceived by the customer.
This is the fourth time that the Service Research Center (CTF) at Karlstad University presents the Swedish Innovation Index to demonstrate the innovativeness of companies, organisations and authorities from a customer perspective.
– We now see that the capacity for innovation has decreased somewhat on a general level compared to previous surveys, which may be an effect of the events in recent years, says Per Kristensson, Professor of Consumer Psychology and Innovation and Director of CTF. The pandemic forced many businesses to be innovative and quickly adapt to new customer needs and behaviours, but now that customers have become used to this level of innovativeness, the companies are no longer perceived as innovative as before. Many businesses are still recovering from the pandemic while facing new challenges due to the current economic situation, which means that innovation may not be a priority.
Ikea retains its top position as Sweden’s most innovative company, closely followed by Spotify, Bahnhof, Omni and Netflix. However, all of them are perceived as less innovative compared to the surveys of previous years.
– Examples of companies that go against this trend and are perceived as being more innovative than before are Swebus, Mediamarkt and Carlings, says Per Kristensson. These companies make regular changes in terms of the offer, delivery, customer interaction or environment in a way that customers appreciate.
Companies that provide streaming services, for example, Spotify, Viaplay and Bahnhof, are perceived to be the most innovative companies and belong to the industry with the smallest decrease in innovativeness.
Digitalisation an important factor for perceived innovativeness
– Our assessment based on the data we collected is that digitalisation and digital renewal play an important role from the customer point of view, says Lars Witell, Professor of Business Administration at CTF. Organisations that digitalise parts of their operations are perceived as more innovative. Digitalisation means that customers experience increased control over service delivery in a way that is perceived as safe and flexible by the customer.
Lyko is the company that has been most successful in relation to digitalisation.
– Lyko has done a great job with integrating the physical and digital in-store experience in a way that enhances the customer experience – and this is something that customers appreciate, says Lars Witell.
Lyko is also among the top ten companies that increased their innovativeness the most during the year.
– We are incredibly pleased to receive this ranking! says Rickard Lyko, founder and CEO of Lyko. We have created a culture with the mindset of always looking for opportunities to improve. Our organisation is prepared for and encouraged to try out new solutions. The improvements that become permanent are those that elevate the customer experience and reduce friction regardless of how our customers choose to approach us. The most profitable innovations have included technology, scale and people.
Innovation from the customer perspective
- The purpose of the Swedish Innovation Index is to demonstrate the importance of starting from the user perspective to generate successful innovation, says Per Kristensson. During the pandemic, we saw how more innovative companies were stronger and more inclined to change and adapt based on new needs, and over the years our surveys have shown that innovative companies have more loyal customers.
The Swedish Innovation Index 2022 includes responses from 15,000 customers who ranked 75 companies and organisations in ten industries based on their innovativeness and how attractive these innovations are perceived. The customers have evaluated the offer, delivery, treatment and interactions. The survey was conducted in the autumn 2022 and the result was presented during the Service Innovation Day 2023 on 1 June.