Helsingborg's journey of change goes back a long way. Tommy Boije stepped up just when Idéslussen was started - a Vinnova-funded project that would drive development and innovation in the city. There he became a colleague of Lovisa Snekkersten. Both were commissioned to act as idea coaches and change leaders, completely new roles within the municipality. At Idéslussen, everything called management groups and anchoring forums was deleted, in an attempt to work a little less bureaucratically. Many enter municipal operations with great drive and ambition, but often disappear quickly during layers of administration and meetings. In the end, only a small part of the working time remains to actually make a difference. Tommy has wanted to counteract this.
- In the beginning, I cycled around a lot to meet as many people as possible, he says. I practiced as a cleaner in the home care service to pick up ideas on how their businesses could be run differently. I have worked with young people who have ended up in the social services and I have also sniffed a bit at VR in healthcare.
Tommy and Lovisa, together with other colleagues at Idéslussen, would set a new culture in motion. A culture where the ideas of the municipal colleagues would take place. In order for this to even be possible, completely new working methods and models were required to work according to.
- I have worked a lot to make people feel safe in what they do, says Lovisa. If you want to point out an important thing in all of this, it is to show people that you believe in what they do. That there is somewhere to go with your idea, where someone listens and captures. In many businesses, it can probably be the exact opposite - that people with ideas are rather faced with lack of time and low commitment.
Now in retrospect, it is easy to see that Idéslussen would develop into what it is today: Hbg Works. Much of the innovation work had been set in motion, and the city was ready for new steps. Then, Lisa Olsson started as the new head of the city's unit for innovation, with the ambition to get the machinery up and running in earnest. The culture had already begun to change, but now structures needed to be established for the innovation work to take root in all of the city's departments.
- I have focused on helping all our administrations to get ready for the trip, says Lisa. This has meant, among other things, appointing innovation leaders so that employees have someone to turn to, but also to ensure that we have support and resources centrally that can help. It's not so easy to be an employee out there and know how to get started.
Working with change can be really challenging. It may seem simple and easy, but in reality change work is about tackling real problems and challenges to see how we can solve it better in the future. The work is about seeing the whole, being the spider in the web, seeing complex connections and being humble in the face of the fact that we may need to test a lot of different approaches before we arrive.
- There are so many driving forces that make it important to dare to test new solutions, says Lisa. It is enough to go in and read about our city-wide challenges, so each of them feels in the stomach. It is everything from mental illness to children and young people moving more.
In the city, there are employees who find it super exciting to drive innovation and change, but also employees who are more skeptical and questioning. It's not that weird. For many, change causes uncertainty and discomfort.
- Throughout the time I have worked in the city of Helsingborg, it has been about driving change in one way or another, says Lovisa. It's awesome - but the emotions go in waves. It oscillates between being great fun and very difficult. Very hard work and very developing. You have to like being on that ride, otherwise you probably get it pretty tough.
How prone are we then to change? Tommy believes that we are all equally prone to change, precisely because change is built into us. Nothing is constant, but we and our surroundings are in constant motion. However, he sees that there are preconceived notions about innovation work and the change it creates. That there would only be some that are meant to innovate.
- Do you know what comes to mind when we say innovation? A red light, a picture of an inventor-Jocke and thoughts that "that's nothing for me, I do not want and also innovation is a difficult word".
There is a bit left to work on that setting. Lisa emphasizes that the support for the journey of change and innovation work is great among leaders and politicians. That it is really allowed to dare, test and do in the city.
- That there is such a broad-based support all the way up feels fantastic, and as a prerequisite for us to become an innovation-strong organization far ahead as well. Everyone should feel that they can test their ideas. It makes us brave and it makes Helsingborg a fantastic place to be. I think.
Innovation has come to a halt - just like the new ways of working and the new roles. But of course a lot will be screwed along the road. Lisa will soon go on holiday as unit manager, but a new role as new transformation and innovation manager awaits in the autumn. Then her task will be to set new goals for the innovation journey. The journey that may never end - because we will constantly face new challenges, which create new needs, which require new innovations.