How does Innovation Skåne contribute to the region’s innovative landscape?

As an independent company owned by the local government, Innovation Skåne plays a crucial role in fostering innovation in the region. We focus on two main aspects. Firstly, we work on bringing in external innovation from startups in various industries. Secondly, we collaborate with Region Skåne to improve the healthcare and transportation systems. This unique position allows us to work both externally and internally, acting as a mediator between the public and private sectors. We provide guidance to startups navigating the procurement process and legal aspects, while also helping the public sector develop their ideas and challenges. This collaboration enables us to find innovative startup ideas that solve problems in the public healthcare system and contribute to business growth and job creation.

What are the main areas in which Innovation Skåne works?

Innovation Skåne focuses on five key areas for innovation: healthcare, mobility/transportation, smart materials, public lighting, and food-tech. These areas are interconnected, and our goal is to explore the interaction between them. For example, we are currently installing new lights at a regional hospital that not only save energy but also impact patient outcomes. Studies have shown that certain types of lighting can shorten the stay of pre-born children at the hospital. Another notable project is HealthTech Nordic, which has brought together more than 250 health-tech companies, with 30% already selling internationally. This initiative has created one of the world’s largest communities of health-tech companies, working on innovative products and services that have the potential to transform the industry.

Can you provide examples of products that Innovation Skåne has helped develop?

Certainly. One recent success story is the development of a device that can detect infections in wounds. The idea for this device came from two healthcare employees in Region Skåne, and we worked on developing the necessary biosensor technology. We then sold the rights for this device to Mölnlycke, a leading provider of surgical and wound care products. This product has the potential to significantly reduce antibiotic use in wound treatment by detecting infections without the need to remove the wound dressing. This is just one example of the many innovative ideas we help develop. Our process involves assessing the quality of the idea, searching for existing solutions, and collaborating with inventors to develop the idea further.

Is the option of asking for Innovation Skåne’s help limited to local government employees?

Yes, we primarily work with employee ideas from Region Skåne. As an independent company owned by the region, our focus is on implementing innovations to improve the services provided by the administration. Projects developed during work belong to the employer, as is the standard in many countries. The projects belong to Region Skåne, which then signs them over to us. We evaluate employee ideas to determine if they can solve significant problems and have commercial potential. This collaboration between Innovation Skåne and Region Skåne creates a win-win situation, benefiting both the employees and the region.

Region Skåne’s economic growth has been remarkable. What factors do you attribute this success to?

While I am relatively new to the public sector, I believe that the region’s success can be attributed to several factors. One factor is the presence of a highly skilled workforce, which has been underused in the past. Skåne is part of Medicon Valley, and its proximity to Denmark’s pharmaceutical companies adds to its potential. Additionally, investments in world-leading research facilities like the MAX IV Laboratory and the European Spallation Source have contributed to the region’s innovative capabilities. The region’s talent, combined with investments and a favorable management style that encourages non-hierarchical work, has played a significant role in its economic development.

Sweden consistently ranks high in innovation rankings. What do you think is the key to this success?

The success of Sweden in innovation rankings can be attributed to multiple factors. Firstly, the management style in Sweden allows for a non-hierarchical approach, fostering freedom to propose and try different ideas. Secondly, the country’s strong expertise in software and new technologies equips it for new challenges. The size of the home market, relatively small with just over ten million people, pushes Swedish companies to think globally and seek opportunities beyond national borders. This openness to the world and the necessity to cater to various markets has been instrumental in Sweden’s innovation success.

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