Innovate by Doing: Case Study Signifly

Nicolai Arnfjord Wegener & Jonas Sander Jørgensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Over the last couple of decades, innovation has been moved to the forefront of organizational research and has been declared as the way to success for companies. This declaration has turned the concept of innovation into a type of buzzword where everyone wants to be innovative. However, innovation does not have one shared definition. With different definitions of innovation and a tight relation to relation creativity, how does a company know that they are being innovative in “the right way”? This led us to study a company that considers themselves as being innovative, which further led us to the digital company called Signifly.
Through our study of Signifly we quickly learned about their mantra “innovate by doing”. This sparked our interest and we decided to examine how the worker and founders of the company understood and practiced innovation. Through 10 interviews with both workers and founders, we examined how Signifly spoke about innovation and creativity and what influence these statements had on their understanding and practice of their work with innovation. The focus in these interviews has been on discourses about “innovate by doing”, their work process and the individual creativity in the workers and how organizational factors affect this creativity. We have used Norman Faircloughs critical discourse analysis as a frame for our own analysis. Additionally, we draw upon Nigel Cross theory about the design process and Theresa Amabiles componential theory of individual creativity and componential theory of organizational innovation and creativity. These theoretical frameworks have been used to understand how Signifly’s founders and workers can be considered creative or innovative through their statements.
This led us to the findings that “innovate by doing” is associated with various different aspects of Signifly. It is a philosophy about innovation. It is a vision to create real value. It is about learning from your mistakes. It is a label describing the workers. It is a quote that helps them sell. Signiflys work process includes the methods workshops, concept sprints, and prototypes with a special focus on defining customers problems, applying co-creation with customers and a fast completion time on projects. The statements about the workers point to them having all the needed factors to be creative in their work according to the componential theory of individual creativity. Signifly supports this individual creativity through factors like a “fun” culture and trust between the workers, but with the work tempo being a point of dissatisfaction for some.

EducationsMSc in Psychology, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages92