Tomas Backström, Professor

Work history

  • Lecturer and then professor in innovation science, Mälardalen University, 2008 – .
  • Researcher, National Institute for Working Life (NIWL), 1987 – 2008.
  • Researcher, Royal Institute of Technology, 1982 – 1987.


Educations and academic titles

  • Master of engineering 1982.
  • Doctor of engineering 1996.
  • Associate professor 2002.
  • Professor 2009.

Backström has been a researcher and part of multi‐disciplinary research units in the work life area since his PhD in 1996.  Aims have been both high scientific quality and to give actionable knowledge to Swedish working life. Starting with an undergraduate degree in theoretical Physics his work has developed more and more multi-disciplinary and he has published articles, books, and chapters in a wide spectrum of venues. He currently researches and educates about innovation management and creativity in groups and organisations, with a special focus on communication and leadership. Backström is the initiator and leader of InnovationsGym® where people can train their innovation skills and drive innovation processes, and where different socio-epistemological-technology tools for innovation processes of groups can be used and tested. The research is often performed in cooperation with organizations characterised by decentralisation and distributed responsibility, where emerging structures are of high importance. Complex systems theory is used as a meta-theoretical base.

PhD students supervised as main supervisor:

Helena Blackbright
Nina Bozic Yams
Rachael Tripney Berglund

PhD students supervised as assistant supervisor:

Christer Osterman