Employee-driven Innovation and Sustainability – Research Visit from Finland

December 19, 2022

Soila Lemmetty from University of Eastern Finland came to Stuttgart.

Postdoctoral researcher Soila Lemmetty from the University of Eastern Finland visited in Stuttgart for a 3-day research visit in December 2022. Lemmetty's research focuses on learning at work, creativity and innovations. In her project "Employee-Driven Learning and Innovation as Multi-Perspectival Phenomenon: Longitudinal Ethnographic Research from Police and Technology Work Contexts (EDLI)", which started in autumn 2022, she will examine the connections, origins and consequences of innovation processes and learning in different organisations. She is particularly interested in the informal and spontaneous processes of innovation in everyday life of workplaces and the roles, practices and actions of different groups of people - especially employees - in these processes. Lemmetty conducts qualitative, ethnographic research, which she sees as a way of constructing understanding of cultural factors in organizations that are often hidden and difficult to measure.

Lemmetty emphasizes the importance of looking at the nature of innovations and creativity. Although innovation is often seen in a positive light, previous research shows that innovation processes are not always sustainable, or their outcomes can be ethically questionable or even harmful. However, these aspects have received less attention in the field. For this reason, Lemmetty believes that creativity and innovation should be examined in multi-perspectival approach and with an open and also critical mind. Studying processes in a longitudinal setting is important to understand the stages of innovative processes, the key practices and the roles and importance of the different actors, but also the outcomes and their immediate and longer-term consequences. While an outcome may be valuable to the creative actors themselves, is it valuable to the organization? On the other hand, some innovations may contribute to organizational efficiency but be unsustainable - even ethically questionable - from an employee or societal perspective. It is important to look at the conflicting nature of innovation in the everyday workplace, in order to make the various conflicts visible and thus develop solutions to anticipate and resolve them in daily work.

During the visit, Lemmetty presented her past and current research at a research seminar, learned about the research topics of ENI researchers and agreed on future cooperation with the Institute.

Lemmetty's research and the related researcher visit to the University of Stuttgart is funded by the Academy of Finland (349117).

Find more information on Soila Lemmetty here


This image shows Melanie Minderjahn

Melanie Minderjahn


Research Associate, PR Manager

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