Ideas for Society

Collaboration to boost Lund's innovation ecosystem

Christin Scheller
August 24, 2021

Future by Lund invited all interested actors to a webinar and workshop about Lund's innovation ecosystem . The discussion is led in the context of Lunds innovation ecosystem assessment to uncover strengths and unused potentials. Working together shall help to make the current innovation ecosystem even better. And it will make it easier for Lund to position itself regionally, nationally and internationally.

In the week of midsummer, Future by Lund invited to a workshop about Lund's innovation ecosystem. Participants from the public, private and academic sectors listened to presentations from Future by Lund (FBL) and staff from the Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship (Lund University) before actively brainstorming together. Peter Kisch, FBL, started the session by underlining the importance of having a dialogue:

”We want to create a better understanding and a better language, as well as a way to describe assets. What do we have for resources and capacities in Lund? What is our project portfolio? What are the activities and actions we are doing? What is our point of view about how innovation is created? How do we measure and follow the effects of it?”

Lifting up these questions and tackling them enables Lund to gain knowledge about the current status quo, but also provides opportunities for shaping it together in future. There is no formal hierarchy in this collaboration. Partners can take the lead depending on the context. “In different situations, at different activities, different actors will have a leading role in this. So, thinking about it like a bureaucracy or something that is being steered from the top is the wrong way of thinking but it is more like a form of negotiation table where one has a common view what this is about” says Peter.

Jasna Pocek, Postdoctoral fellow at the Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship at Lund University.

This view is backed up by research. Jasna Pocek, Postdoctoral fellow at the Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship at Lund University, studied Lund's innovation ecosystem and stresses that an Innovation ecosystem is dynamic and shaped by the present actors and their connection to one another. The stronger the interconnections are, the more potential can be mobilized which makes for a better ecosystem.

”Interconnectivity is also about sharing resources so that the resources are better distributed among the actors, since no one in the ecosystem has all of the resources at their own disposal. And when we say resources, we mean finance, talent, human capital, knowledge” explains Jasna. Of course, each ecosystem is unique and context-dependent, but strong relations among the private, academic and public sector are perhaps part of the most universal characteristic for success.

Complementing the theoretical insights, Christin Scheller from the Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship presented the preliminary results of the analysis following the guidelines of the Global Institute on Innovation Districts manual (GIID). The manual assesses the district according to five categories which are critical mass, innovation and entrepreneurship, leadership, quality of place and inclusion and diversity and has already been used in cities such as Milan, Toronto and Dublin.

“There is a lot of talented work force concentrated in Lund and its surrounding, we have the university producing excellent research particularly in the technical and medical fields and some big international companies. Generally, we have good conditions and a lot of potential but we need to see more close interaction between all actors and a common strategy” concludes Christin.  

Christin Scheller from the Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship.

After listening to the three speakers the participants had a chance to discuss together. They agreed that more cooperation is needed among the participants. Some participants also voiced that we need a clear picture of the innovation system that includes small and big actors as well as the possibilities Lund has. Having such information makes it easier to facilitate cooperation and use the available resources. Additionally, information should also be available in English to make it easier for international people to gain an understanding of Lunds innovation activities and characteristics. The session concluded with an understanding that this was a first step on a continuous journey together to shape Lunds Innovation Ecosystem.


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