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Career stories

Innovating outside-in

Phillip returned to Sweden from his Shanghai secondment in 2016, and started in the whole new role of Customer Innovation Director. He believes that the best innovations stem from teamwork and tight cooperation with customers.

“In mid-2016, when I was returning to Gothenburg from my assignment in Shanghai, I was offered a role as Director of Customer Innovations at MacGregor. Our long-term target is that MacGregor will become the go-to-supplier for this business. With this goal in mind, we are now looking into different ways of digitalizing our offering and enhancing our solution sales. It is a completely new role and I find it really exciting.

Earlier we made innovations ‘inside-out’, within our own silo: we thought about what our customers might need in the future and then innovated products and solutions to those needs. Now we want to turn the innovation process by 180 degrees: we talk with our customers and industry stakeholders about the business challenges they face. Sometimes we gather information by observing the customers day-to-day by, for instance, travelling with them on the ships. These insights help us innovate the solutions that best address our customers’ business challenges.

This is new for everyone here, and we are testing different ways of collaborating with our partners and customers. For example, I participated in the first Cargotec/MacGregor hackathon as a mentor. During one weekend, the hackathon participants, who were not familiar with the business before, were able to come up with a number of new viewpoints and good ideas for future solutions. It was impressive and really showed the power of that process!

We are now doing similar engineering challenges internally. I believe that the best results come when we mix the teams, bring in the different insights, truly think outside of the box, and let everyone spread their experience. We want to involve everyone in innovating!

I firmly believe that working closely together with customers, partners, and our own people is the way forward!”