Open Innovation Journey to Digital Future: Case Study of Seco Tools (Sweden)

December 16, 2018
by Eilif Trondsen
On December 11, 2018, we had a great event to hear the innovation journey to Silicon Valley of Seco Tools. This blog post provides a bit of context for the event—which we had posted as the event description before the event—so you, who missed the event—can have a bit of context for the Seco story, and then gain more detailed insights into their innovation experience from what Anders and Quentin shared, in part responding to questions that Jim and Eilif, as moderators of the session, posed to Anders and Quentin.

Context for Seco Tools Case Study

In 2016 the Swedish industrial company Seco Tools embarked on a bold experiment to plot a digital future for the traditional metal tool cutting company. Sending an R&D team to San Francisco for 6 months proved to be novel solution for Seco to act like a startup. In the recording below, you will learn about the journey and the outcome from Anders Ericsson and Quentin Hardoin from Seco Tools. Today Seco has a brand new digital division with high tech electronic products, mobile apps and cloud services. Seco mines customer data and is building a new business that sells information and insight, not cutting tools. Anders and Quentin were in San Francisco heading up this new business and shared their experiences with the Silicon Vikings community.


In 2017, Seco Tools sent three individuals from their R&D departments in Sweden for a six-month project to work at the Flex mini factory on 8th street in downtown San Francisco. Serious Fun, a Swedish open innovation consultancy and IoT engineering firm, assisted Seco in every step of the journey from planning the program to delivering the results. Today Seco has leveraged the tremendous power of open innovation in Silicon Valley to become true digital pioneer.
The Seco story is an inspiring example—for both Nordic and other companies seeking to become both more innovative and more digital—of how to transform a tradition industrial company into a digital enterprise ready to do business in the 21st century. Their success is a model to others willing to take necessary risks and face uncertain outcomes to transform an enterprise. How Seco was able to take inspiration from the Silicon Valley way of working is a blueprint for how to leverage the tricks and tools of startups for big companies. Seco Tools is a great case study for how Nordic and other companies can remain competitive and stable based in the Nordics or elsewhere while benefiting from the energy and technology of Silicon Valley.


Anders Ericsson | Silicon Vikings Event PanelistAnders Ericsson | Silicon Vikings Event Panelist

Anders Ericsson

VP Strategy and Innovation, and VP Seco Consultancy Services

​​​​​​​Anders is the VP of Seco Consultancy Services as well as holding the VP position of Strategy and Innovation at Seco Tools. Anders is responsible for opening new markets and market channels through the build up of service concepts based on a mix of strong specific core competences and open innovation methodologies. Anders has collected learnings from more than 20 years in different senior business functions from R&D to implementation of large Infrastructure projects around the world. He now applies these learnings to meld vibrant startup mentality with strengths of a successful longstanding company to combat lethargy in a mature industry. Anders has a PhD in Materials Science from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and a MSc in Aerospace Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology.
Quentin Hardoin | Silicon Vikings Event PanelistQuentin Hardoin | Silicon Vikings Event Panelist

Quentin Hardoin

Solution Owner - Idem

​​​​​​​Quentin Hardoin has worked for Seco Tools for 15 years where he has occupied a number of positions.  Beginning his employment in Seco’s Research & Development Department as a Project Manager (Milling), he then moved into Custom Tool Product Development focusing on Crankshaft, Power Transmissions and Energy applications and standard milling solutions i.e. disc milling, helical milling and ceramic milling. Quentin was an integral part of developing Seco’s SET (Sensor Equipped Tooling) operations during 2017 and is now the Solution Owner for IDEM as a part of Seco Consultancy Services.


Jim Myrick | Silicon Vikings Event ModeratorJim Myrick | Silicon Vikings Event Moderator

Jim Myrick

Entrepreneur in Residence, Flex

​​​​​​​Jim is an expert in hardware acceleration, open innovation, telecommunications and full stack agile software development having founded a number of Silicon Valley and European technology firms. Currently he is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Flex a 26 billion dollar a year global high tech manufacturing firm, he is the co-founder of Serious Fun AB a Swedish telecommunication design, build and operate engineering consultancy located in Malmo and an EiR at RocketSpace the premier global co-working accelerator. He is also a resident at the Autodesk Technology Center of the CTO at Pier 9 in San Francisco.
Eilif Trondsen  | Silicon Vikings Event ModeratorEilif Trondsen  | Silicon Vikings Event Moderator

Eilif Trondsen, Ph.D.

Silicon Vikings

Eilif—a transplanted Norwegian who has spent his whole professional life in Silicon Valley—has led and participated in a number of syndicated research programs and numerous consulting projects during his 35 years at SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute) and Strategic Business Insights (a spin-out from SRI, located on the Menlo Park campus of SRI). Eilif has also been Adjunct Professor of Economics at a number of Bay Area universities. Most of his work has focused on eCommerce, Learning, Innovation, and Virtual Technologies, and in recent years much of his work has focused on the Nordic region, especially Finland and Norway, including projects for Tekes and the Norwegian Research Council, and three projects funded by Nordic Innovation. He was recently the project leader of a new Nordic Innovation project awarded to Silicon Vikings, which will build a Nordic EdTech Network. He has been a Board member of Silicon Vikings for the last 7 years, and have been the Chair of the Special Interest Group on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning since its beginning.

Event Recording