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Three quick questions to a Ph.D. Student

Published Jan 24, 2014

Katarina Lund, industrial Ph.D. Student at Scania, is affiliated with the division of Integrated Product Development and studies how employees at Scania manage to make room for creativity in an environment of high demands for productivity.

How is your job important?

In my field, creativity research, there are many myths about how stuff work. In addition to that, creativity is very dependent of the context you study. In order for Scania to find better ways of working for creativity it is important to take a scientific perspective and to study the own organisation and not rely on research done in totally different types of environments. For example, it is a special situation to be successful in creative problem solving in a context where a hundred other urgent things are already on your to-do list, compared to working solely with creative exploration. Innovation often require the successful combination of creativity and high levels of efficiency and my research shows that this combination puts special demands on creativity. Among other things it is very hard to find time for creativity in a hectic work environment if you only rely on inspiration and that creativity will appear by itself. You instead need to actively make sure creativity gets the room it needs by goal-setting, planning and by working on enhancing the creative climate.

What are the benefits of working as an industrial PhD student?

As an industrial Ph.D. Student you move seamlessly between the company where you are hired and the division at the university. I feel equally at home in both places. Scania is active in many types of research and aims at working closely with KTH. That is where a Ph.D. Student can act both as a network node and as an interpreter. By having an industrial PhD student you create strong ties between industry and academia and I can help both parties understand how they can make best use of each other when collaborating.

What are the best aspects of your job?

The freedom to explore a field I am deeply passionate about! And the access to many exciting contexts. Imagine, it is actually my job to discuss creativity with everyone I meet. I am a person that is very curious and I enjoy submerging myself in different questions and twisting and turning problems to solve them. At the same time I am passionate about understanding what people are motivated by and what makes them successful in coming up with creative ideas. I cannot imagine a job where I get to combine those two perspectives in a better way than I get to do in my job today.