Karen Lee is Innovation Director and head of the Innovation Center. She is also a part of the core team that is running and operating CampX.
She comes from San Francisco and has worked with business innovation, strategy and new product development in small as well as large corporations. Having spent most of her career within the Silicon Valley culture, where innovation and growth has the front seat, she hopes that she can bring that kind of mindset.
Innovation has of course always been important at Volvo too, but what really struck me when I came here was the culture of collaboration. The way we work together with academia, authorities and partners is really impressive. I believe that building upon that foundation to drive a culture that combines growth, trust and collaboration is a great way forward.
The Innovation Center is the landing spot for anyone who has new ideas they need help to materialize. Inventors and engineers get help through the whole process, everything from sourcing for partners, negotiating deals, access to labs and prototyping materials, performing experiments and finding funding – all in hopes of taking it to market.
The main goal for the Innovation Center is to support employees in developing new products, services and cutting-edge partnerships. This calls for extensive collaboration between different entities within the organization as well as externally.
The innovators who come to the Center represent all ages and many different backgrounds, and the ideas are just as diverse.
Not all ideas will make it, of course. But it has a value, nevertheless, to give them a chance, and to encourage inventive people in the organization. Maybe the idea will turn out to be valuable later, or the inventor will come up with more ideas that can come to use.
“We have many brilliant minds at Volvo, but prior to the founding of CampX, they didn’t really have any particular place to go with their ideas”, she says. “Now, we’re not only benefitting from creative ideas, we’re also helping the entire Volvo Group to keep innovative people within the organization and making it easier to attract new talents.”