A lifelong passion for innovation in the Process Industries

 Working in the process industries

After taking a Master of Science in mining engineering, Thomas Lager started his industrial career at Boliden Mineral AB in the north of Sweden. He began as a research engineer, responsible for pilot plant testing of new process technology and later on flow-sheeting for new plants. He got his first “hands-on” production experience as a plant engineer at a mineral processing plant at Kristineberg.

After a few years he was employed by the Gränges International Mining Company, where after serving a short time at the head office in Stockholm he was transferred to Liberia as a plant engineer and put in charge of process engineering and was appointed start-up manager of a new large processing plant for iron ore. After leaving Africa, and after a short period as a section head at the Swedish Industry Board, he was recruited back to Boliden Mineral AB.

In his second session at Boliden Mineral AB, he was Superintendent of Product and Process Development at the company. During this time he was seconded to the National Board for Technical Development in Sweden as a program developer and manager of national research programs. During this session with the same company, in the course of his PhD studies on the development of new separation process technology he developed new process technology, later to be adapted internationally for obtaining products with less contaminating minerals. He took a PhD in Mineral processing in order to get the necessary theoretical foundation for research-based industrial development.

Working as a consultant in Management of Innovation & Technology for the process industries

After leaving Boliden Mineral AB, he became a consultant to private innovators and SMEs in product development in the north of Sweden at Västerbotten Regional Development Fund. As such he developed, in association with the Swedish Inventors Association, a structural model for supporting inventors in Sweden.

After starting the consultancy (blinab), he was contracted to develop and work as an assistant coordinator for large research projects within the framework of European Union research programs. As a consultant to large corporations in the Process Industries, he developed new product development methodologies especially adapted for use in the process industries.

There are no such things as good “off-the-shelf” solutions in the dynamic industrial world. The responsibility for a consultant to an industrial organization in the complex area of innovation is thus huge. It often requires a mature perspective on corporate life and innovation to be able to collect relevant facts and to do a good analysis. Apart from being now the General Manager of the company, Thomas Lager is still the principal consultant at the company, with vast experience of solving industrial problems, transferring and advancing state-of-the-art knowledge in the area of Management of Innovation and Technology.

Thomas Lager has worked as a consultant with companies from many sectors of the process Industries including the mineral & metal, pulp & paper, food & beverage, and chemical & petrochemical industries – companies that not only belong to different sectors of process industry, but are also excellent performers and major players on the market. Spring 2010 the newly formed French company blinab opened up an office in France and afterwards in 2015 an office in Morocco. After leaving Morocco and France spring 2018, he is now the General Manager of blinab (B&L Innovation AB) in Sweden.

Professor in Management of Innovation & Technology

During his time as a consultant he started studying at the doctoral level again in the field of industrial organization in order to acquire a stronger theoretical platform. This research resulted in a new PhD thesis with the title “Success factors and new conceptual models for the development of process technology in Process Industry”. After this second PhD, in Business Administration & Economics, Thomas Lager was appointed an Adjunct Professor at the Luleå University of Technology. The new professorship was denominated “Professor in Management of Innovation & Technology with a special focus on Process Industry”. As such he founded a research center in this area at this University and served as its first part-time director. He stepped down 2007 from this position in order to give more focus on own research after moving to Grenoble in France.

During the following five years he established a collaboration with the Centre for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship at the Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM) in Grenoble, France. This collaboration emerged into a research platform as an affiliated Professor focusing on Management of Innovation and Technology in the Process Industries. In the framework of this partnership the first international workshop in this area was organized May 2011 at GEM. http://grenoble-em.com

After participating in a workshop on the same theme, organized by the OCP Group in Morocco in February 2013, he was later appointed an affiliated Professor in Management of Innovation & Technology year 2015 at EMINES – School of Industrial Management, at the University Mohammed VI Polytechnique. This newly started University is situated at Benguerir close to the city of Marrakech. https\\:www.emines-ingenieur.org. He was later on directly affiliated at the University as their first Professor and Chair in Innovation Management. After leaving Morocco in spring 2018 he was appointed Affiliated Professor in Innovation Management at Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering at the Eskilstuna Campus in Sweden http://www.ipr.mdh.se