Regions and innovation important for Sweden’s growth
“The more we can do together, the better the results we can achieve,” said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven when he opened the meeting of the National Innovation Council and invited regional actors in Skellefteå on 20 February. The focus of the meeting was the northern region’s strengths and challenges, and its interaction with the national level.
For Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, regional meetings with the National Innovation Council play an important part in developing national innovation policy. This is the second time in the past six months that Mr Löfven and the Council have held meetings around the country. In October, the Council was in Västra Götaland County speaking with stakeholders in the region. This time a meeting and subsequent seminar were held in Västerbotten County. It is important for national innovation policy to identify the diverse opportunities and circumstances that exist in the different regions.
"It's about creating good conditions to advance society as a whole. An open, inviting approach and constructive discussions will enable us to create a platform for developing ideas and policies that will generate growth throughout the country," said Mr Löfven.
Mr Löfven led the meeting. Also on site in Skellefteå were Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg, Minister for Higher Education and Research Helene Hellmark Knutsson, State Secretary to Isabella Lövin Eva Svedling and Council members Darja Isaksson, Jane Walerud and Ola Asplund. County Governor Magdalena Andersson, Regional Council member Erik Bergkvist, chair of the municipal executive board Lorents Burman, and other regional actors from industry, academia and the public sector also took part in the meeting, the focus of the which was the northern region's strengths and challenges, and its interaction with the national level. The extraction and processing of resources for a sustainable society were discussed, along with how innovation can help communities outside the major cities to grow.
"There were many interesting comments and discussions that we in the Government will take back with us. All conditions are in place here; we have the people, the environment and the natural resources. Northern Sweden can lead the way, for example, in digitising health care. There are obvious challenges here in terms of an ageing population and the need for better nationwide medical care that is closer to the community. But there are also ideas and solutions here," said Mr Löfven after the meeting.
Following a meeting of the National Innovation Council, work on harnessing the views and ideas addressed continues at the Government Offices. This is the job of the National Innovation Council Secretariat, which follows up issues in cooperation with the relevant state secretaries and ministries. Follow-up and feedback also take place at future Council meetings.
"This helps to develop more policy areas to ensure that they better promote innovation, which in turn leads to improved innovation policy and to Sweden becoming more competitive. That's the whole point," concluded Mr Löfven.