National Innovation Conference in Luleå

SWEDISH SUMMARY: En Nationell Innovationskonferens genomfördes i Luleå igår. Konferensen var uppdelad i tre block: 1) Innovationsstrategier, 2) Innovationsupphandling och 3) Sociala innovationers betydelse för ett långsiktigt hållbart samhälle. Konferensen hade en mycket stor uppslutning av deltagare och duktiga föreläsare från såväl myndigheter (Vinnova och Trafikverket), akademi, hälso- och sjukvården som näringslivet (vilket representerades av mig).

A beautiful day in Luleå

A beautiful day in Luleå

A National Innovation Conference was arranged by Innovationssluss Norr, Norrbottens Läns Landsting, Region Västerbotten, ALMI Företagspartner, Luleå Tekniska Universitet, internetBay, and EU, yesterday in a beautiful ”pre-winter” setting in Luleå.

Mats Brännström, head of healthcare in Norrbotten County Council, welcomed us all to the conference. He talked about the importance of innovations within healthcare, and not only new medicines and med-tech, but also in several other areas. In order to encourage innovation and innovation processes it is extremely important he said, to create organizational structures and collaborations between academia, healthcare and industry, and identify appropriate methods and methodologies. Hence, the creation of Innovationssluss Norr, and this conference!

Mats Brännström welcomes us to Luleå

Mats Brännström welcomes us to Luleå

The conference was divided into three blocks or sessions, 1) Innovation strategies, 2) Innovation procurement, and 3) Social innovation and sustainable development, all of them facilitated by our  two moderators Åse Angland Lindvall and Per-Anders Nybond. Since all presentations (both as video and the slides themselves) will be posted on, I will only briefly comment on them here. Please have a look in the coming days at the website of Innovationssluss Norr, and feel free to comment on mine and/or the other presentations!

In Session 1 on Innovation strategies, we listened to Anders Berndtsson from Trafikverket (in English: The Swedish Transport Administration) when he described the innovation strategies of the agency. We also heard Helen Baxter, from NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, describe their experiences from the UK healthcare. Very interesting to listen to the UK experiences and their actions on Thinking Differently, Experienced-Based Design, and Culture for Innovation. Helen was very clear that ”anyone can have an idea, but innovation is the result of a structured process”, and that ”innovation is about risk and failure – you have to dare trying”.

In Session 2 on Innovation procurement, Nina Widmark from Vinnova shared the agency’s view on innovation processes in general but specifically of course on public procurement: ”Innovation procurement is a great tool for problem solving”. Theresa Hägglund, procurement lawyer at Norrbotten County Council, talked upon innovation procurement as a valuable tool to enable new solutions and features, to drive development, and to secure better efficiency. And finally in Session 2, Sigrid Pettersén, research manager for project Innovation Procurement X (Inköp Gävleborg) gave us a brilliant presentation on the positive values of high quality of life, also for our elderly people. Sigrid’s conclusions are closely related to the kind of thinking discussed in my blogpost from Oct 11 on Prevention of Illness and Wellness Creation, especially the part on Preventive Care and Healthy Ageing.

Session 3 on Social Innovation and Sustainable Development started with Malin Lindberg, from Luleå University of Technology, explaining what social innovation is, and illustrating that social innovation within healthcare is a route to profitability and community benefits. One important conclusion from Malin’s presentation is that all innovations most likely have social, as well as technical and organizational aspects, integrated in them. Malin gave a list of useful links to web sites discussing social innovation:


After Malin, I gave my lecture on social innovations within the pharmaceutical industry. One key message was of course the concept of ”more than medication”. For details on that, see e.g. blog posts from Oct 11 2012, March 22 2012, and Oct 4 2011, or Pfizer Canada’s more-than-medication web site, and Pfizer Health Solutions.

Closing remarks by Kurt-Åke Hammarstedt

Closing remarks by Kurt-Åke Hammarstedt

A summary of the discussions, and well-formulated closing remarks, was given by Kurt-Åke Hammarstedt, head of regional development at Norrbotten County Council. He thanked us all for our contributions, and I can only thank him and his colleagues at Norrbotten County Council and Innovationssluss Norr in return for a very well organized, and very interesting, conference!

I am looking forward to find all the presentations (both as videos and the slides) at the website! This is some good material!


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