Helena Fornstedt

Short presentation

Helena Fornstedt is a postdoc researcher within FINEST studying innovation and sustainable transitions in the food sector, focusing on the green protein shift. Her thesis concerned innovation resistance and the tendency to view innovation as desirable and resistance as undesirable. She is also one of the researchers behind the research-based climate comic En kort och relativt trevlig bok om klimatet


  • barriers to innovation
  • climate transition
  • critical cross cultural management
  • energy market
  • health care sector
  • innovation
  • innovation diffusion
  • innovation resistance
  • offentlig upphandling
  • public procurement
  • science comics
  • sustainable development
  • sustainable futures


Helena Fornstedt is a postdoc researcher within the food centre FINEST focusing on innovation and sustainable transitions in the food sector. She is currently investigating the innovation processes around the Swedish legume value chain and the potential 'protein shift'. She is interested in research directed by a search for new goals for the economy. In particular, she focuses on sustainable transitions as well as critical and post-growth innovation studies. Moreover, she enjoys popular science communication. For 1,5 years, she had a monthly popular science column in a local newspaper, and she is presently involved in the climate comic project.

Helena has previously been the head teacher in the course Innovation management and Entrepreneurship. A course that she transformed from being a classical lecture-based course into a flipped-class room setting. She di this by putting lectures online using the tool scalable learning, and all sessions at campus being interactive workshops. She has also shared the responsibility of being the head teacher in Industrial Project Management and Industrial Project Management II. Furthermore she supervises Master and Bachelor thesises

Fornstedt has earlier been a monthly columnist in the daily local news paper Örnsköldsviks Allehanda and a coordinator for the CEMUS research forum. She has also been an alternate member of the Faculty Board for TekNat, and a PhD representative in the Academic Senate.

Before starting her PhD she worked at the consultancy firm Accenture in IT and Management projects.

She is a civil engineer with a degree in Sociotechnical Systems Engineering and she has a bachelor in Business Economics from Uppsala University


Cultural Rhetoric in Onshore/Offshore Project Work (2019)

This study describes the way in which Swedish ‘onshore’ IT consultants construct the identity of both themselves and their Indian ‘offshore’ colleagues. The study highlight how a rhetoric of cultural difference can function as a deflective shield hiding intersections of other explanations. The intersections hiding behind the notion of ‘culture’ in this case were closely tied to power and identified as 1) a construction of ‘the Swedish way of work’ as superior, 2) the Indian team being ‘dehumanized’ and organized as “a machine”, evaluated with quantitative performance measurements, 3) the Swedes’ power proximity as well as 4) the Indian site working with poorer technical infrastructure

The influence of public procurement on innovation diffusion in the health care sector (2018)

"This article addresses the enactment of public procurement and its influence on adoption and diffusion of innovation, using a case study of public procurement of a low-tech medical device innovation in Swedish healthcare. Based on interviews and documentation, the article illustrates the various perspectives of the different professions involved in the complex task of setting the requirement specification for the tender. The technology identities of the medical device (innovation) are constructed and negotiated by the actors: procurement administrators, health-care professionals and suppliers within the adoption space. Examining the enactment of the procurement process as part of the adoption space is a way to deepen our understanding of the social component within public procurement. " (abstract from Askfors and Fornstedt 2018)

Dilution of innovation utility in the electricity industry (2018)

"This paper inquires into how a reorganization of the value chain running from client-utilities to equipment suppliers within the electricity industry has altered the conditions for diffusing/adopting technological in- novation. Through an interview-based qualitative case study of the development and diffusion of high-voltage switchgear, it provides a supplier perspective on how the downstream capacity to recognize and assess the potential value of innovations has fared in the face of downsized utility organizations, seeking to cut costs through aggressive outsourcing of engineering, procurement and construction activities. Highlighting how relations between end-clients and upstream suppliers – following a strategic orientation towards activities considered to be core – increasingly have become mediated by consultants and project-based contractors, the narrative analysis first suggests that this has stolen the industry of important inter-organizational learning processes. This in ways that have reduced the ‘absorptive capacity’ of the utilities sector. Second, the analysis suggests that the contractual form that has come to dominate infrastructure projects further works to deincentivize the adoption of new technology, by diluting the perceived utility of innovation across the array of actors populating the value chain. Thirdly, the paper calls for renewed policy measures to deal with this reinforced reluctance towards the new. " (Abstract from Sköld, Fornstedt and Lindahl 2018)


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Helena Fornstedt