SKOV A/S is one of the world's leading suppliers of climate and farm management solutions for poultry and pig production.
For over 35 years, SKOV A/S has been recognised as one of the best companies in the world for the development of products and systems that deliver increased growth and overview for poultry and pig producers. In step with a world that is becoming ever more digital, where concepts such as artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning are gaining ground, SKOV A/S has sharpened its innovation strategy in order to be able to execute on the big opportunities that exist in digital innovation. A key challenge has been to design the innovation processes and models that ensure in both the short and long term that there is a correlation between the company’s innovation strategy and day-to-day execution at SKOV A/S.
In a collaboration between SKOV A/S and The Innovation Board, the first important step was to form a recognition and acceptance of the fact that there are major differences between developing physical products and systems and designing new digital products and business models. The digital part of the innovation strategy called for a break with the existing stage-gate model – despite this being extremely effective for driving physical product innovation. A series of workshops with selected managers and staff analysed and weighted different possible innovation processes and models which were all viewed against the requirements and wishes that were crucial for SKOV A/S. After this process, a decision was made to test a new innovation model based on a design sprint which is probably best known from Google Ventures. The crucial element in this choice was that it was practicable to test and implement in the company, that it was well-suited to digital innovation, and that it placed the company's customers and users at the heart of its digital innovation projects. In addition, a design sprint really focuses on progress, learning and customers, which were already important elements in the company's innovation culture.
The result of the first design sprint has been positive and very much lived up to the requirement for progress, learning and customer focus. In just five days, a group of talented and dedicated employees succeeded in developing and user-testing an actual prototype of a digital product that has the potential to solve a specific job-to-be-done for an important customer segment. The positive experience from the first design sprint has led to SKOV A/S – in collaboration with The Innovation Board – expanding the method to additional projects. Together with the help of an effective governance model for digital innovation, this creates a common thread between the new innovation strategy at SKOV A/S and the digital innovation projects that are being created, developed, tested and scaled.