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Gabriel Wikström is no longer a government minister, Minister for Health Care, Public Health and Sport
Life sciences and policy innovations in focus at National Innovation Council meeting
The Government's efforts to strengthen Sweden's life sciences and the significance of policy innovations in developing the reception and introduction system for newly arrived immigrants were two of the topics discussed when the National Innovation Council held its first meeting of the year on Thursday 25 February.
The National Innovation Council is tasked with advancing Sweden as a country of innovation and strengthening Sweden's competitiveness. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven chairs the Government's National Innovation Council, which was founded one year ago.
"The National Innovation Council's first year has been very valuable for the Government's efforts to strengthen the innovation climate in Sweden. Innovation is about the 'new' – about how Sweden as a country can become a winner in global competition and how we as a country can jointly tackle the major challenges facing society. Together in the Council we have highlighted major broad themes, such as digitalisation, life sciences, and climate and environmental policy, and we have strengthened our policy in these and other areas as a result. The Council is a clear example of the power of collaboration. I am looking forward to the Council's strong commitment in 2016, too, to ensure a more competitive Sweden," says Mr Löfven.
Life sciences – a priority for the Government
Anders Lönnberg, the Government's national life sciences coordinator, was invited to the meeting to discuss the work on the life sciences action plan that started in 2015. Minister for Health Care, Public Health and Sport Gabriel Wikström attended the meeting and explained why the life sciences are a priority for the Government.
"Modern health and medical care demands that we also invest in innovation and life sciences. These investments also contribute to human health, welfare and quality of life. Through collaboration and development work we can strengthen entrepreneurship, create more jobs and improve health care at the same time. This is why the life sciences are a natural priority for the Government. It is a perspective we have with us in our work, linked to pharmaceutical products, eHealth and much more," says Mr Wikström.
Innovations for developing the system of reception and introduction of newly arrived immigrants was another topic on the agenda. Lisa Lindström, CEO of Doberman and member of the Minister for Enterprise and Innovation's advisory board, was invited to the meeting to talk about how policy innovations can create opportunities for developing the system of reception and introduction of newly arrived immigrants.
Can you explain what policy innovations means?
"There are many definitions of this. As I see it, it is regulatory frameworks, projects and new services that solve societal challenges in new or better ways. I think the quality of policymaking increases when policies are created jointly with citizens, companies, public sector actors, associations and others who are affected by the specific regulatory framework or policy in question," Ms Lindström says.
Can you give a specific example of a policy innovation?
"That Laholm Municipality has now chosen to let users order their own time for using companion services is a fantastic example. They quickly arrived at a good solution through creative and multidisciplinary participation within the framework of the service innovation project Förändra radikalt (Radical change)."
What benefits can policy innovations have in the reception and establishment of newly arrived immigrants?
"Making use of the capacity and skills of new arrivals and combining these with the resources and the driving force of wanting to join in and contribute that is found in the business and non-profit sectors. And that in this way we are able to more quickly and concretely create new regulatory frameworks, new services and new ways of working. We don't have time to work in a linear fashion. We need ways to quickly understand problems, jointly create new solutions and test them at an early stage in order to more effectively and efficiently tackle the societal challenges we face and with a higher level of quality," Ms Lindström says.