Swedish Innovation Parliament 2017

On 25-26 April, the cities of Linköping and Norrköping hosted the 2017 Swedish Innovation Parliament (#SIR17, Sveriges Innovationsriksdag), a meeting and discussion arena for anyone who is a part of the Swedish innovation support system.

The topic was “Digital transformation” and the two days were crammed with interesting sessions, keynote speakers and panel discussions.

Depending on your role in the innovation system, the SIR offered different types of sessions – some more action orientated and some more directed to innovation policies. Members of the Swedish parliament and representatives of the industry and trade were also invited to take part in the discussions and give their views on Swedish innovation, the innovation climate, the role of science parks and incubators, but also how to help, namely SMEs, into the digital transformation era.

Corporate venturing and the role of “large companies” was also discussed. A current trend is that large companies have increased their venture efforts in start-up companies. One very interesting new arena is SynerLeap, an innovation growth hub powered by ABB. On the same topic keynote speaker Eva Fors from Google Cloud shared Google’s view on innovation culture and the ecosystem around start-ups.

Business matchmaking sessions between large companies and start-ups also took place in parallel, which was also notice in an article by Dagens Industri.

The innovation policy workshops, on the topic of how to encourage SMEs to take part if the digital transformation, resulted in a suggested plan of action, which was discussed by a panel of parties from the Swedish innovation support system. Itwas also presented to the members of the Swedish parliament. It is obvious that digitalisation means different things to different organisations and people. A big opportunity in the digital transformation is that it will require innovation, which will result in the growth of many companies. The innovation support system and the science parks have an important role to play in this transformation, alongside with the realisation that smart specialisation will be key to success.

Sweden has already been ranked as the second most innovative country in the world in the Global Innovation Index 2016. By creating opportunities for the innovation system and the business and trade to work together, this top spot in innovation will be maintained for many years to come!

Words by Sofia Willquist