Ahlsell AB

Director of Innovation Lab

Ahlsell is the Nordic region's leading distributor of installation products, tools and supplies. The Group has a turnover of approximately SEK 33 billion and around 5,700 employees in six countries. To ensure a successful and sustainable organization, we place great focus on our employees to make them grow, feel proud and committed and to ensure that Ahlsell attracts new competent employees. The Ahlsell spirit is based on our strong business acumen and can be described with our values; accountability, openness and simplicity. These values permeate all parts of our business when we strive to be at the forefront when it comes to sustainability, profitability growth, inclusion, diversity and openness to innovation - both privately and at work.

The Director of Ahlsell’s Innovation Lab will drive strategic exploration of customer centric and technology driven innovation in close alignment with the overall strategy of the Ahlsell group. The innovation lab will work very closely with the line organisation and internal teams, it will have a high degree of autonomy with its own budget, organisation and senior executive sponsorship. 

This is a new role and one of the first tasks will be to build a small core lab organisation (initially two “digital” profiles), set up an office and define an internal “brand” for the lab. The Director of the Lab will report directly to the Group CEO.

The objectives of the lab are to;

  • increase Ahlsell´s understanding of opportunities and threats emerging from digital;
  • drive exploration by identifying, qualifying and testing / prototyping related new customer focused innovation ideas in the marketplace; and
  • leverage the lab core team, external partners and the wider Ahlsell organisation to accelerate and drive innovation.

 As a member of the Group Digital Transformation programme management team, the Director is also expected to contribute to the overall digital transformation of Ahlsell. This role requires an experienced senior leader, adept at business strategy and innovation management and with a strong interest in technology. 

Role Responsibilities.

Strategic exploration and knowledge building.

  • Building management awareness and commercial understanding of potential threats and opportunities in digital – e.g. voice, AI, AR, and Building Information Management (BIM)
  • Formulating a clear exploration strategy (themes) and sound screening criteria for ideas (based on a customer-centric approach and focus on problems worth solving).
  • Lead the lab ideation process and qualify ideas from the lab or the wider Ahlsell organisation
  • Co-lead digital customer behaviour and customer journey research (with marketing)

Innovation management.

  • Managing a staged idea accelerator program (e.g. seed, project, product)
  • Driving development of qualified ideas in “design sprints” and creating proof of concepts / prototypes / MVPs in the effort of establishing solutions towards production in lab or line
  • New business development, incl. incubating of new business ventures, identifying potential investments and acquisitions

Eco-system development and partnering.

  • Networking within e.g. the tech / start-up community to build relationships and identify partners
  • Establishing digital partnerships (suppliers, customers, start-ups, developers, academia, etc)
  • Being an effective interface to third parties for information and shared innovation

Digital leadership – contribution to the digital transformation of Ahlsell.

  • Support the development of a culture of innovation across the entire company
  • Catalysing the digital transformation by example and by promoting customer centred design, technology and data driven approaches
  • Technical / digital quality assurance of line development ideas
  • Support the ideation process in the line (but not be responsible for the process)



  • 7-10 years’ experience in business development, innovation and/or digital marketing / e-commerce or other field with significant digital exposure.
  • Minimum 3 years of leadership experience with small teams and/or cross-functional dependencies (not necessarily line management)
  • Preferably experience within digital transformation in a large organisation
  • Likely a bachelor or advanced university degree – Masters or Master of Science in Computer Science, Statistics, or Business or similar
  • Action orientated “self-starter” with the ability to independently lead and inspire a small core team while maintaining strong alignment with overall strategy and objectives and punching above weight by leveraging the wider Ahlsell organisation and external partners
  • Business savvy: strategic vision, structured, financially literate, fact-based, effective communicator
  • Technology savvy: Strong grasp of digital technologies, user experience and customer journey 


  • Experience of supporting thought leadership, strategy, M&A and complex change
  • Experience of working with development teams and working knowledge of front end / back end, architecture and APIs
  • Exposure to agile and lean development practices. Demonstrated success in developing new ideas, prototypes and proof of concepts much meriting.
  • Experience of supporting both online and offline customer channels highly desirable

Prior experience or knowledge within is also meriting.

  • B2C E-commerce/digital marketing and qualitative and quantitative market research
  • B2B wholesale, distribution or retail with exposure to e-commerce
  • Tech innovation / digital strategy (e.g. IoT) from tangible product industry
  • Incubator/start-up development


If you have any questions regarding the role please contact per email or Caroline Allmér caroline.allmer@headagent.se