Innovation in focus at the world’s biggest democratic meeting place

Key takeaways from Sweden’s Almedalsveckan 2023

With thousands of events arranged by political parties, private businesses, and individuals during a week, the open, democratic event Almedalsveckan in Sweden is the biggest of its kind. EGGS was present for the first time this year and participated in some of the hundreds of talks and workshops on sustainability, innovation, and design. Our Lead Designer in Stockholm, Erika Pohjanen Rossi, summarises the topics that set the tone for this year’s event edition.

Equality and diversity – no innovation without different perspectives

People-centric innovation must have an equality and diversity perspective to generate real value. At Sopra Steria’s event, we discussed how to approach this topic and how to promote inclusion, which is just as essential for workplaces in general as in innovation processes. For example, we discussed the importance of having the courage to linger in uncomfortable feelings and to challenge your own preconceived ideas and opinions. As a society, it became clear that Sweden is still struggling with inequality, which was reflected in the events related to economic inequality. The director of Jämställdhetsmyndigheten (Sweden’s Institute for Equality), Lena Ag, demonstrated the widening pay gap between women and men. This is a significant challenge to approach where value-driven innovation can make a real contribution.

Opportunities and challenges in Northern Sweden’s green transition

Perhaps the interest in Northern Sweden has never been as considerable in Almedalen as it was this year.The region is leading the way regarding the green transition, with both new industries and innovative developments in already established ones. 100 000 more inhabitants are needed in the region over the coming 10-20 years, which will require significant investments in mobility, energy supply, and welfare. There are many opportunities for positive change and impact where environmental and social sustainability can influence each other.

At the same time, there are many challenges. The native population and other minorities’ rights, biodiversity, and the inherent value of nature itself are only some of the perspectives that need to be considered in this development. For this, innovation processes need to be inclusive. The event ”How do we design the country of the future?” by Region Norrbotten discussed People-powered Transformation – an initiative within the new strategic innovation program Impact Innovation. The starting point is co-creative processes between players where the people e who live and work in the region collaborate. A key message in this is that a sustainable and attractive society is not static -it’s an ongoing process where we need to ”societize” together as a verb.

The event ”How do we design the country of the future?” by Region Norrbotten discussed People-powered Transformation – an initiative within the new strategic innovation program Impact Innovation.

Who should drive the change?

Sustainability and innovation were, as we can see, the red threads throughout Almedalsvecksan 2023. From how the event industry can promote innovation to how social entrepreneurship can be an international catalyst for impact - everyone can and should contribute. When society is going through a significant transformation, different competencies, experiences, and approaches are needed to succeed.

As designer and innovation leaders, it’s more critical than ever that we ensure that as many voices as possible are required and that we promote diversity instead of single perspectives. We have an essential role to play in facilitating and making sense of complex challenges such as the energy transition, security, digital exclusion, and citizens’ expectations of public services.

The week in Almedalen spotlighted precisely this – how might we make the best use of people’s engagement and knowledge and work together for a lovable future? Let's figure it out, together.

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Erika  Pohjanen Rossi

Let's talk to Lead Designer
Erika Pohjanen Rossi
+46 070 292 5053

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