Swedish industry needs a vibrant innovation environment
In a debate article in Ny Teknik, we describe what is needed to develop a sustainable and competitive Swedish industry: “A vibrant innovation environment is crucial for the government's industrial strategy to be realized and for the Swedish indtech miracle to continue to grow.”
But what exactly is a vibrant innovation environment? And how can individual companies, investors, researchers, and individuals gain access to such an environment? For me, the answer is simple – the innovation environment consists of the combined competence and opportunities within the network.Read Catarina Berglund’s chronicle
Greetings from the process management
At Automation Region, we are passionate about bringing together players from different industries and sectors to together develop Sweden into a leading industrial and innovative nation. An ambitious commitment, of course, but when we look back on the past year, we can state that the will and commitment is there - both in ourselves and in our network.Read Automation Region's Christmas greeting
Push for digitization
Leaders in both business and the public sector must push Swedish small and medium-sized industrial companies to digitize. It is not enough to highlight examples of interesting technology - it requires a broader and more basic discussion of how data is used. That is the opinion of Elin Nordmark, who is Head of Product Management and Promotion, Factory Automation Sweden at Siemens.Read the chronicle by Elin Nordmark
The robot lift - a successful model for development
In the implementation of Robotlyftet, we have met companies where knowledge of robots and automation has been non-existent. We have also worked with companies that have used robots for many years but want to move forward in their development, for example by improving the design of a product for continued robotization.
What the participating companies have in common, however, is that they highlight the value of a complementary discussion with an independent party. So even though the program includes financial support and other initiatives, I believe that the most important contribution has been that we have been able to increase companies' security in the face of the strategically difficult choices they face.Read the chronicle by Martin Hedman
Regional strength is a national resource
For over 100 years, Skellefteå has been a strong industrial city. Today, the municipality accounts for more than half of Västerbotten's total exports and the industry is flourishing. There are plenty of jobs, especially in wood and industrial technology, but at the same time it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to find the right skills. We need to change that.Read the chronicle by Jannike Lindbergh
Development of the technology of the future requires broad collaborations
Like all established companies, Ericsson is in a rapid transition process given the speed of technology development. To some extent, we are used to reinventing and renewing ourselves because every generation of mobile networks - 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G and 6G - basically becomes a completely new product family with us. What is a bit new with 5G is that we reach so many more uses, not only consumers with smartphones but pretty much all verticals. Therefore, we must quickly scale up contacts and collaborations with developers in the companies and organizations that build new solutions that benefit from 5G networks.Read the chronicle by Jan Söderström
Create space for reflection
There is often an almost reflexive effort to keep up with change and renewal, in both industry and various societal functions. But is there enough room and interest for reflection?
In the short term, it is easy to see how AI and other new technology can be used to improve work steps and processes. With the help of data analysis and algorithms, we can, for example, streamline logistics systems and change traffic flows to reduce or even out load. Very positive and clear effects in the short term, but seen in a larger perspective and in the longer term, there is a risk that they drive demand. It creates unwanted effects which, in the worst case, completely offset the positive effects.Read the chronicle by Helena Blackbright
Industry Day on the need and utilization of research
The industry is increasingly strengthened by digital services and solutions, if not as fast as in other parts of society. One of the challenges is to find technical solutions that work together with existing processes and with the already existing range of machines and other equipment. It is a complex act of balance that requires many different skills.
Our vision for Industry Day on the 7th of September is that industrial companies will be given the opportunity to present their needs and challenges while researchers show what solutions are available and what is underway. An informal discussion that can give rise to new contacts and future research issues.Read the chronicle by Moris Behnam
IndTech - a somewhat anonymous Swedish speciality
Times are changing and development in our area is rapidly progressing. Today we talk less about industry segments – automation and digitization are crucial success strategies regardless of industry. Collaborating across both regional and national boundaries to learn from each other feels natural. Cooperation is a means of competition and a prerequisite for being able to take the lead in digitization and the transition towards a more sustainable production.Read the chronicle by Catarina Berglund
IndTech shows the way forward
It is with great anticipation that I take on the role of new Chairman of the Board of Automation Region. We have exciting times ahead of us with high goals and ambitions. In five years, we will be Europe's leading innovation environment for automation. It is a bold vision - and to succeed will require a great deal of courage, skill and energy.Read the chronicle by Ola Norén
After the smartphone and beyond
If I may wish for anything, it is that more of us take the opportunity and think about the future with AI. Take the opportunity to discuss with your colleagues and friends. Dare to ask questions about what happens next - after the smartphone and beyond.Read the chronicle by Rebecka Cedering Ångström
In adversity there are opportunities for development
In 1996, Sweden took a real step within information technology with a home PC and large investments in broadband. Around 2007 the smart phones came and accelerated the development of digital services and business models. 2020 was the year when our meetings and meeting places went digital and we learned that teleworking could function really well.Read the chronicle by Christer Gerdtman
Adaptation with continued focus
Internationalization with great potential
Since the end of World War II, the United States has developed a successful ecosystem of partnership between business and government. Extensive federal R&D efforts have led to breakthroughs such as the Internet and GPS technology, which in turn form the basis of leading US tech companies and platforms. Most of these companies conduct most of their development from Silicon Valley, where they, together with universities such as Stanford and UC Berkeley, have played an important role in the region's development.Read the chronicle by Henric Johnson
The value chain - opportunities and obstacles for innovation
During the pandemic, we have seen great flexibility in production. Industrial companies have switched focus to be able to produce protective equipment when the usual products are not in demand or deliveries fail. In the same way that during the holidays we are more flexible in taking on tasks and responsibilities that we otherwise shy away from or do not feel qualified for, we can during a crisis raise our gaze and adjust - not just because we have to, but because we want to.
This flexibility in what we do, how we do it, and who does what is central to innovation and development. But if we look at something that has been on the industry's agenda in recent years - technology development and digitalization - what does it look like?Read the chronicle by Petra Edoff
Focus on the internal power of change
A key challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises is to increase the power of innovation and renew the business model with the help of new technology. There are often one or more individuals within their own organization who can drive development and innovation, but it is required that they receive the right support and room for maneuver. At IVA, we are currently looking into how we can support companies' intrapreneurship – namely the internal entrepreneurship.Read the chronicle by Johan Carlstedt
An opportunity to increase the pressure
Swedish industry is globally competitive and known for high competence, innovation capacity and a collaborative climate. For a small, export-dependent country, it is crucial to take a seat and lead technological development. But when we are hit by a crisis, the natural reaction is to slow down - to focus on core business and pause development and cooperation.
The corona pandemic has in many ways shown how dependent we are on global value chains and that the systems we have built are unfortunately not very robust. During the spring, I worked for Volvo in the USA. In my workplace, and in the automotive industry in general, the consequences were clear - when the influx of materials stopped, so did production. In this way, the pandemic has benefited, it has exposed weaknesses that allow us to better prepare for the future.Read the chronicle of Jenny Elfsbergs
Hierarchies have no effects on complex processes
Management strategies with associated hierarchies, balanced scorecards and Lean philosophy work well to lead businesses that work with standardized processes, such as manufacturing products. For some time, however, we have seen that the emphasis in value creation is shifting from physical products to behaviors. New companies can create value through shares, likes and unique visitors. At the same time, the traditional businesses are trying to adjust our behavior - for example, the bank does not want customers to come into the office. When we shifted from agriculture and crafts to industry, we needed management and hierarchies, but when we now shift the focus from things to behavior, a different model and a different leadership is required.Read the chronicle by Mats Tyrstrup
Where is the new freezer?
What is the great innovation of our time around food? Fridge and freezer revolutionized the life of my grandmother. She could store food without having to salt, smoke, preserve, cook - a revolution both in terms of saving time and being able to make use of everything. The entire value chain changed, new logistics chains with freezer transport emerged, the grocery stores received refrigerators and freezers, new products and product segments were developed… All product developers and innovators added enormous creativity. Where is today's freezer?Read the chronicle by Marie Gidlund
Important learning for future resilience
Right now, we are in a completely new landscape with enormous strains on individuals as well as societal functions and companies. The industry - the base for the Swedish economy - is going at a slow pace and no one knows how long it will be. At the same time, in the midst of the ongoing crisis, we see an incredible commitment and a strong will to support and help.Read the chronicle
We build the future with competence and collaboration
We can probably agree that the corona pandemic will be demanding in many ways and we must work together to curb the negative development. For example, it is important to take advantage of the opportunity for skills development so that we are ready when the recovery takes off. Many issues and alternatives are discussed and at Mälardalen University we prepare together with various actors to support industry and society with the resources and tools we have at hand.Read Helena Jerregård's chronicle
What responsibility do companies have for the development of society?
Traditionally, a company's overall goal is to meet the interests of its owners, an interest that is usually equated to maximizing profits. However, this idea is being challenged and questioned more and more – a notable example is the Davos meeting's manifesto from January this year.Read Daniel Akenine's chronicle
Diversification builds competitiveness
Sweden is perceived as a country that is at the leading edge of the transformation to digital industry. We are proud of our ingenuity, revolutionary innovations and excellence in research. We are enterprising, cooperative and often described as an egalitarian country with a well structured society. Swedish industrial companies enjoy a high level of credibility and a good working climate.
This is in many respects a fair picture and one to be proud of. But we cannot rest on our laurels. We must constantly work to maintain our position, and these days we know that competitiveness and equal opportunities go hand in hand. Without one, we cannot have the other.Read Malin Rosqvist's Chronicle
Graduate school hones its collaboration with industry
At the industrial research college Array, the Automation Region Research Academy, Mälardalen University meets industry requirements for research, development and skills supply. Working with companies and organizations, we have put together a package containing courses, projects and professional tutors from the college and industry. We have also built up an extensive network to support the development of our industry postgraduate students and participating organisations.Read Thomas Nolte's chronicle
Pfizer’s major investments in Strängnäs
Pfizer is currently investing SEK 350 million with the aim of doubling the rate of manufacturing in the facility in Strängnäs. The background to our major investment in Mälardalen is that the demand for our products is increasing. In a broader perspective, this is a matter of us being able to show that we belong to a strong region with many prominent automation companies and access to the right expertise.Read Helena Thelin's chronicle
Controlling the implementation of intelligent systems with needs
The possibilities of data analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning are almost endless. But grandiose visions are of no value unless they come to fruition. Always start with the need; see potential in the problems you tackle on a daily basis. If you ask a concrete question, you increase the chance of receiving a clear answer.Read Stig Larsson's chronicle
Cooperation – the key to the skills challenge
To further improve our local ties and to find new collaborations, we became members of Automation Region in spring 2018. For us, Automation Region is an easily accessible, local arena where, by simple means, we can show who we are and what it is that we work with. We can form relationships with the other member companies and obtain knowledge and inspiration from seminars, Do-tanks and other activities.Read Pamela Ernlund's chronicle
Circular economy – a real opportunity
When I visited companies a few years back and talked about the circular economy, many thought that it seemed abstract. This is no longer the case. Today, I am met with great curiosity and also an awareness that we must leave the throwaway culture behind us. At the same time, there is uncertainty surrounding circular economy in practice – how can it be implemented in my business?Read Erik Bresky's chronicle
Join us in Hanover
With 5,000 exhibiting companies and 200,000 visitors, the Hanover Fair is the world’s largest industrial fair. When it is arranged next, on 1–5 April 2019, Sweden is the partner country, which is both an acknowledgment and a challenge, considering our predecessors – Mexico 2018, Poland 2017, USA 2016, India 2015 ... A Swedish pavilion encompassing 1,200 square metres is to be built in one of the most central exhibition halls. There, visitors will come face to face with Swedish industry and automation – from research and development to the finished product.Read the chronicle
The pursuit of future skills
From one year to another, the number of virtual assistants (voice-controlled AI assistants) on the U.S. market increased by nearly 400 per cent (Mary Meeker, 2018). The adaption on the market is faster than that of any previous technology. It is moving so fast that Google has suddenly realised that they have fierce competition to their most central product – the search engine. Americans are no longer searching by text but are instead using voice commands.Read Niclas Sigholm's chronicle