Lindholmen – the automotive cluster, expertise and the future
How could a former shipyard evolve into a leading innovation environment? Why is it so unique and what does it mean for development in the Gothenburg region? We invited a few people to explain Lindholmen's success.
Katarina Brud, Director at MobilityXlab, talks about the automotive cluster, expertise and the future.
The automotive cluster
"At MobilityXlab, we offer young companies with innovative ideas the opportunity to collaborate strategically with six major global industrial companies active within the automotive industry and connectivity, namely CEVT, Ericsson, Volvo Cars, Volvo Group, Zenuity and Veoneer. You could say that we're the intermediary between these major players and the startup world. For a startup to be accepted, at least two of our partners have to be interested in the company.
"It's exciting to be at the heart of Lindholmen. We're neighbours with these industry giants and, together with all the startups and growth companies, this creates an amazingly dynamic ecosystem. Then we have the university just outside our door, and AI Innovation of Sweden just around the corner, soon to be joined by Geely's Innovation Centre. Moreover, Campus Lundby is gradually unfolding just across the main road, Lundbyleden. All this gives rise to a number of synergies. Our automotive and connectivity cluster, in combination with the Swedish culture of collaboration, makes Lindholmen unique and I think that's why it works so well. It truly is an amazing cluster that we've created here.
"We want to find the best solutions and innovations for future mobility and seek out startups and growth companies the world over to do so. That's when we see just how attractive Lindholmen's automotive cluster is. We've been in contact with companies indicating a desire to establish themselves somewhere in Europe – and then they look to Lindholmen. That says something about the appeal of our automotive cluster."
"It's encouraging that in 2019 we can still say that it's when we meet that things happen. We need the technology, but we still need to meet if things are to happen and new knowledge is to be developed. MobilityXlab is a neutral meeting place where we gather small and large companies and people of different backgrounds and nationalities and create a space where different insights and standpoints can coexist in a multinational environment in the middle of Gothenburg. This new way of meeting and collaborating is characterised by trust, curiosity, flexibility and willingness to share. If we'd been co-located at a major company, it could easily have been the case that the host company's culture would have dominated. If, instead, we all come from different places and gather in a neutral arena, together we can create a completely new culture.
"Throughout the autumn of 2018, we focused on finding startups needing a platform for AI. AI is part of the future, as important as sustainability in the solutions of tomorrow. AI simply has to be in the mix. This makes the new AI centre particularly exciting. The fact that it's been located in Lindholmen underlines the national significance of this place. We have both partners and startups which are highly involved in the AI centre.
"What we're starting to see now, having been up and running since autumn 2017, are many given partnerships, but also the creation of something completely new as a result of being in this environment, a case of serendipity, as it were. Completely new expertise is being formed in the region."
"Innovation is the future, but the road isn't always straight, development likes to meander. This x, the unexpected, the result of the equation, remains unknown. Maybe we shouldn't set our sights on a defined goal, as this hampers innovation. On the other hand, we know that we have to prepare for change, and to this end the ecosystem we have in Lindholmen offers great opportunities. It will be exciting to see what happens.
"We work with partnerships, which is what the future will demand too, as it's no longer possible to do things on your own. And, as already mentioned, we'll see results even if we don't yet know what they'll be. Our future requires that we continue to create meetings, that we're allowed to be this place where experimentation takes place – you could say that the meetings are the lab. And the journey we've started with MobilityXlab continues; we complement the industrial players' own innovation processes. I'm convinced there'll be a natural place for what we do for a long time to come.
"Lindholmen is a very exciting environment in which to collaborate, and moving forwards I think this place will become even more of a leading centre for mobility on a global scale. You can already see the beginnings of a hive of activity. I first worked here ten years ago, and when I came back I was met by a completely different atmosphere. You're almost taken aback to see all the construction work and the multinational arena it's become. Today, Lindholmen is truly on the lips of people in the mobility world."