Trondheim's #Drømmeløftet

Innovation Norway's #Drømmeløftet process is crowdsourcing the next phase of innovation policy. Here is what happened in Trondheim at Technoport 2015.
Drømmeløftet Trondheim

We are about to face some serious national challenges, according to Innovation Norway. On the one side we deal with major global challenges in areas such as climate, health and energy, which require a more sustainable society. At the same time Norway need to adapt from strong petroleum based business to other sustainable activities. This implies a strong need for knowledge, creativity and innovation.

The oil and gas industry continue to meet challenges, which means that we must plan to create new industries, companies and jobs, to restructure our economy and to secure the financial basis for our common welfare.

This spring, a dialogue is going on across the country with the overarching theme, Drømmeløftet (the Dream Commitment). Hosted by Innovation Norway they are mobilizing businesses in all regions and industries to discuss a necessary “dream-lift” for Norwegian innovation and restructuring.

In the technology capital, Trondheim, some of the great questions to be answered were; how do we promote the big ideas? How can we benefit those who dare to bet 100% on new solutions? And, how can we develop products and services that the world needs and are willing to pay for?

In the panel the discussion-panel we had visit from Marie Bysveen (SINTEF), Borgar Ljosland (Cstick Media), Per Sandberg (Statoil) and Guro Grytli Seim (NTNU). Vigdis Harsvik from Innovation Norway and Gøril Forbord from Technoport led the discussion with input from the audience to ensure that every voice of the city was being heard.

We have time,” Per Sandberg from Statoil says. “How long can we count on the oil? As an industry, perhaps a minimum of 50 years,” he says. “But, we have time.”

"Trondheim´s strength, or Norway´s strength is a combination of nature and technology that characterizes Norway. When we think of energy, Norway has an energy system the world dreams of.”

However, we need to take bigger risks. It is not enough risk-taking actions in Norway, we are standing solid even when we fail,” Sandberg says. “We need to take bigger risks with control.”

Guro Grytli Seim, previous NTNU student and CEO of Morpho Solar spoke for the students and entrepreneurs and reached out for more specializing in entrepreneurship, and to have actual entrepreneurs willing to help with the startup base.

As a student you need someone to start up with, and then you have to be part of an environment that could see what you are able to do together,” Seim says.

I have collected some thoughts from my own environment, and there are three points I would like to give some attention. Firstly, I believe that we need a better early-stage support. And with that said, I think of an early-stage support, which is even before starting a stock company, it is the phase in which one does not even know if this is a company worth yet. This is the stage where you would need the easy money,” Seim says.

There has to be a zero bureaucracy and there will be low amounts, but it is just enough that students can work out if this is something they dare to bet on, also after you have finished your studies. This is very important.”

So my three points that I feel is important are; early-phase support, less bureaucracy and more entrepreneurs funding agencies,” Seim ends.

Borgar Ljosland looks at the bigger market.

Much of what is done in Trondheim is also done internationally. It is not a competitive advantage for us, because it is already happening elsewhere in the world,” Borgar Ljosland says.

We must create a culture where we can look to Trondheim and say: - This is the city where it happens! That is not the case today. We are not competitive enough on the worldwide market,”

Trondheim Tech is a very important innovative to showcase what is happening in town. Media´s role is not good enough,” Ljosland points out.

Marie Bysveen agrees.

I think it is really important to have a sufficient focus beyond Europe. I know the government sends more and more money via Brussels and that is just something we have to deal with, but I believe it is important and I think it will provide plenty of opportunities for us to use expertise available there to create Norwegian companies in the future,” Marie Bysveen from SINTEF says.

2014 is the year when climate change was put on the agenda, when the US and China reached an historical agreement to drastically curb carbon emissions after months of secret talks. “It would be mistaken to say that the climate change does not work without a human grip,” Vigdis Harsbik (Innovation Norway) claims.

Basically this is whether we are facing a major climate problem and what it leads to when it comes to a change in the business community both globally and at home, and how we must do something about it,” Borgar Ljosland says.

I had a dream about a budget, part of the government budget, we are talking about large investments that is important for the nation, and with a great symbolic value. Here, we have an innovation project that the public Norway will use to solve specific community projects, put out to tender internationally, and all agree that the posting rule here is beyond political games. 

This is where you and other companies, such as Statoil, and other major businesses helps to filter out which projects should win, so in that way we will get some brilliant, internationally recognized and implemented projects in a context with good workforce; offshore, environment, energy and so on. In that way the state is also helping to create a symbolic value, and to set a clear direction for the rising generation that this is the nation where things happen.  So, when I am on a summer holiday abroad and I meet people and tell them I am Norwegian they all know “this, and this and that” about Norway because there is something big and amazing that happens up there, and it will reflect back on me and I will think “yes, I am a little proud to be Norwegian,” Ljosland says.

We have to do this on a scale with “Marit Bjorgenske proportions,” Ljosland ends.

Marie Bysveen highlighted the importance of quality.

Specifically, to keep building on what we are good at, I believe in incubators within a few selected areas that Norway is extremely good at, for example marine technology, ocean space and energy,”Bysveen says. 

The final point that I think is the basis for success in almost all contexts is to focus on quality. Do not give money to applications that are poor, but start building around those who are outstanding, they must prove that they are world leaders in research, we must demand something that won´t give us just mediocre,” Bysveen says.

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