Innovation is about finding the right balance between running the current business and exploring future possibilities

“My workplace is international and teams are cross-functional, but there is a common Uponor spirit.”

  • Stella Gustafsson
  • Innovation Management Specialist
  • Corporate Development & Technology
  • Västerås, Sweden

When a person describes herself as being a curious futurist and a passionate social innovator, there is no better place to work than innovation management. Stella Gustafsson, an open-minded Innovation Management Specialist at Uponor agrees. Stella speaks with passion about innovation, but is also well aware of the realities of her working environment. At Uponor, she feels that her colleagues are open to new innovations when they realize the value they bring to the organization. This is exactly what good and successful innovations do.

Stella has studied economics and innovation management. She has worked for different industrial manufacturers and done many different types of projects during her career. For the past four and half years, she has worked for Uponor’s Corporate Development & Technology function. For many, the thought of idea management, innovation strategy and system development might sound a bit daunting, but not for Stella. One of the best things about her job is that she feels free to suggest novel methods and concepts. She also keeps an eye open for new technologies, start-ups and external collaboration opportunities.
When it comes to challenges, corporate innovation requires balancing between running current businesses and exploring uncertain future opportunities. Markets are changing fast and technologies develop exponentially. It is hard to successfully maintain the existing core and at the same time have a good long-term view, predict trends and act accordingly. This means a lot of planning. Stella’s job is to support mastering the equilibrium. This is challenging, but extremely interesting. 
 “You need to value both the present and the future and get the balance right to be able to support the organization in achieving sustainable growth.” 

Being yourself and being heard are both something that Stella values at work. She calls her workplace, Uponor’s Distribution Center in Västerås, Sweden, inspiring, collaborative and with many opportunities to learn and develop personally. Flexibility and freedom at work are present in many things such as tasks, schedules and influencing others. She describes her colleagues as energetic professionals who are passionate about what they do. Like at many other Uponor location, there is a blend of different nationalities, but the atmosphere is the same regardless of where you are. This is unique. 
 “My workplace is international and teams are cross-functional, but there is a common Uponor spirit.”

Discussions between colleagues are open and straightforward, which is good in cross-functional teams. Open discussion breaks the ice. Stella also appreciates learning from each other and new experiences with colleagues.

Kids take up most of Stella’s free time. She enjoys doing different things with them and just being with them. Reading and tennis bring a nice counterbalance to her work. She also tries to find time to meet up with friends to relax and to chat about life.

You can see and hear when a person has found their calling. This is evident with Stella. She is open-minded and wants to try new things. Qualities that are crucial if you work with innovation. Stella speaks with passion about her work, but she is no high-flyer. She is well aware of the real world and knows that right innovations can make a huge difference.  

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