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Photos: Henry Harrison

Finnish firebrand comes to the Faculty of Engineering

One of the world's leading innovation thinkers, professor Alf Rehn, has been appointed to the University of Southern Denmark's Faculty of Engineering. His appointment will shake things up and lead to a completely new way of thinking about innovation and creativity. And it will not pass unnoticed, promises the Faculty's Dean.

ByTrine Bergman,, 30-06-2017  

Trust not just the smart guys in the room.

This is just one piece of good advice from the Finn Alf Rehn when it comes to innovation and creativity. And it is also one of the mantras he will bring to his coming work as professor and head of SDU Innovation and Design Engineering:

- We live in exciting times, when technology is eating the world, and when innovation and design have never been needed more. I'm looking forward to exploring new ways of making innovation and design something that energises and drives change in society, says the 45-year-old Finn.

Courage to face ugliness and to be critical

Alf Rehn's central ideas is that we - in a time when innovation is one of the biggest buzzwords, and when publishers the world over are spewing out countless books on the subject - should take a different and more critical approach to the field:

- For organisations and companies, it's not only about being standard-bearers in the field of innovation. We need to dare face what is ugly, to challenge and criticise our innovative ideas and to listen to those who are perhaps not as clever. In a world such as ours, we shouldn't waste our creativity but use it where it can seriously benefit society, says Alf Rehn, who is looking forward to being part of SDU Innovation and Design Engineering (IDE):

- The technological revolution means that the skills being taught and researched at Innovation and Design Engineering will only become more and more important, he stresses.

Alf Rehn takes up his new post on 1st August, and with that he will become a member of SDU's Faculty of Engineering. The Faculty houses the University's 21 engineering study programmes, of which the BSc in Product Development and Innovation and the BEng in Integrated Design belong to IDE.

An Enfant terrible

Alf Rehn is often called the enfant terrible of innovation thinkers, but he is not without substance. He comes from a professorship at Åbo Academy and has been a professor at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Alf Rehn is also on the boards of many major companies and is author of the book "Dangerous Ideas: When provocative thinking becomes your most valuable asset". In 2016 he was also honoured by the international organisation Thinkers50 when he was named one of the 30 most influential gurus in the World.

The field will explode

It was indeed as part of Thinkers 50 where Dean Henrik Bindslev encountered Alf Rehn earlier this year. And according to the Dean, both current and future students on the IDE’s two study programmes can buckle up and look forward to expriencing the show of Alf Rehn in action.

- I have rarely met anyone who burns with such passion - both on stage and in conversation, says Henrik Bindslev.
- With Alf on board, our research and collaborations with companies in the field will explode - and our study programmes will get a shot of wildness and really be a cut above the rest, says Henrik Bindslev.

Just as the students have something to look forward to, Alf Rehn is also looking forward to meeting the engineers of the future at the Faculty:

- I truly enjoy the notion of working with the very best and brightest students in the Nordic countries. It is so important to truly engage with the desires and the ideas that young students have about the world, he says.

Foto: Colourbox

SDU Innovation and Design Engineering Section provides research and educations in the field of technology-based engineering science. The main focus is to transform ideas into innovation to the benefit of the industry and society in general.

Alf Rehn

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Editing was completed: 30.06.2017