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Creating Cross-Functional Innovation

Kerstin Peterson, VP of Marketing, Electrolux
Katie Pagnotta
October 24th, 2013
Kerstin Peterson, Vice President of Marketing at Electrolux Small Appliances, has been with Electrolux globally for three years. She transitioned roles from Business Development Manager to Vice President Product Line Instant Cleaners, both in Sweden, to her current role at Electrolux Small Appliances North America in Charlotte. Her resume is widespread and includes LEGO and General Mills. Electrolux is a leading Swedish multinational household and professional appliances manufacturer focused on creating intuitive, innovative and humanizing products. Electrolux has over 100 years of thoughtful design, and with native Swede Kerstin, will continue to reign supreme.

3 Questions with Kerstin


What makes an innovative culture? How do you create a culture of innovation?

Innovation is built in the DNA of Electrolux. We truly believe we need a creative learning environment to enable our innovation process. One way we encourage innovative culture is by creating an iLab. It is one part innovation laboratory and one part digital interactive forum. You can iChat with a diverse group of individuals and you can interact with members from marketing, research and development, human resources and any department imaginable. It creates cross-functional innovation and we are able to share a variety of topics. We have had some concrete examples that have been successful. For instance, a problem arose in our Minnesota branch and we were able to connect with research and development teams in Brazil and Sweden to find a solution.

Do you have any specific rituals for re-setting to be creative?

Everything stems back to our corporate culture of innovation. In our Stockholm office, we have a physical iLab in the entrance. In our regional offices, we have created similar spaces to encourage creative sessions. We have colorful rooms with tools, Play-Doh, arts/crafts and LEGO products. In addition to these spaces, we encourage open-minded conversations and simple meetings. We remove tables and rearrange furniture to break down barriers and open the lines of communication.

How does innovation relate to your values?

Electrolux is really proud of innovation and it is ingrained in our culture and corporate values. We have three specific stated values. They are passion for innovation, customer obsession and drive for results.