Swedish industry needs a vibrant innovation environment

Chronicle · Catarina Berglund, process manager Automation Region · 2022-07-01

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.

Automation Region builds a strong innovation environment around the concept of indtech. It includes internationally leading organizations and experts from various industries and areas. From visualization, standards, business modeling, entrepreneurship, and intrapreneurship to in-depth technical fields. We are constantly taking steps to create new opportunities in our network.

Our activities this spring have included expos and fairs as well as learning platforms with digital seminars and workshops on prioritized topics. We also have strong progress in our projects. An exciting example is the project Mikrofabriker, where we bring together the textile and fashion industry with our automation companies. An important goal is to move production home to Sweden and that requires a high degree of automation.

The competence challenge is still a priority for us – we need to attract talent to the industry, but also find new forms of collaboration. One example is the Talent Attraction initiative, where we scout start-up companies in Silicon Valley and connect them with the companies in our network.

It is election year in Sweden and at a policy level we have many large and difficult issues to deal with. We have identified four areas that we want the politicians to prioritize to develop a competitive and sustainable Swedish industry:

  • Attract R&D investments to Sweden. Focus on adaptability to indtech and develop a new export and investment strategy that prioritizes openness and collaborative efforts between business and academia.
  • Strengthen skills within indtech. Ensure that education is of high quality and relevance and give the universities the right conditions to collaborate with the industry. At the individual level, everyone must have the opportunity to develop skills throughout their professional life.
  • Take the lead in digitization. Enable strategic initiatives so that Swedish indtech can take a globally leading position. Clarifies that digitalization permeates all policy areas by appointing a State Secretary with responsibility for coordinating digitalization issues between the ministries.
  • Facilitate the industry's climate change. Introduce a national investment in demonstrator environments within indtech that supports the industry's climate change and competitiveness. Digitization, AI, and an upgraded digital infrastructure are prerequisites for a sustainable transition.

Perhaps the need for a vibrant innovation environment is greater now than ever before. That is why I am extremely proud of what we in the Automation Region are creating together. Welcome to get involved and feel free to come up with your own initiatives that you want to pursue in the network.

See you after the holidays – have a wonderful summer!

Catarina Berglund
Process Manager Automation Region