Lindholmen – history, vision and role as an accelerator
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.
Maria Fuxborg, Vice President of Lindholmen Science Park, talks about Lindholmen's history, vision and role as an accelerator.
"Lindholmen Science Park was created twenty years ago by a group of bold decision-makers in trade and industry, politics and academia with the aim of building a better future for Gothenburg. Back then, it revolved around turning the former shipyard area into an attractive place for companies, organisations, students and residents. An appealing and modern ecosystem in a new neighbourhood, quite simply.
"Today, we can see how this exciting local initiative not only improved the attractiveness of the Gothenburg region, but also evolved into a national resource for development and growth.
"Our mission has always been to create the necessary conditions for various actors to want to establish themselves in Lindholmen. We've worked in different ways, created added value and accumulated a critical mass of expertise. Sometime around 2006-2007, we started to gather stakeholders in various projects designed to address a range of common challenges in society. Trade and industry contributed resources, the public sector did its part and academia ensured a scientific basis.
"This enabled us to amass new knowledge which all involved parties – businesses, authorities, academia – could use in their product and service development. It also made it possible for academia to identify new research areas while contributing results to trade and industry.
"Programme and project activities have continued to evolve, with a focus on applications, testing, demonstrations and pilot studies. In this way, Lindholmen Science Park complements the important research pursued by Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg."
"When Lindholmen Science Park was founded, the vision was to establish an attractive development environment, a cluster, with the goal of seeing 10,000 people working here. When the shipyards were most active, there were some 7-8000 workers here. Today, we number 25,000. In addition to this, we can add all the regions, cities, companies and authorities outside the region which are involved in the Lindholmen Science Park concept.
"For 20 years, we've quite consciously, albeit with great leeway, strived to allow Lindholmen Science Park to evolve to meet prevailing needs. Lindholmen will continue to evolve, but we need to safeguard that which we've all been involved in creating and face the future in the manner which the city, the region and the country need. If Lindholmen Science Park is to continue contributing to the creation of growth, new job opportunities, regional appeal and faith in the future among the young, then we need to continue making conscious and bold decisions in genuine partnership.
"Those of us who are privileged enough to influence what happens here shouldn't get complacent, Lindholmen Science Park has tremendous potential. People overseas wonder how this journey could even be made. One of the most important things we point out is that it takes time and demands true partnership. Success is also dependent on a number of stakeholders in business, society and academia really wanting something and seeing that there is a need to work together to address a challenge in society in order to see development."
"Conceptually, Lindholmen is about getting things to happen. Many are involved and contribute, the collected expertise grows and the whole becomes something much greater than the sum of its parts. Lindholmen is, quite simply, an accelerator.
"Looking back, there have in fact been a number of crises which have stimulated acceleration and development here. We started out during the shipbuilding crisis, which was a driving force of sorts in establishing and developing Lindholmen, then we had the IT crisis around about the new millennium, followed by the financial crisis of 2008-2009. All of these have spurred Lindholmen Science Park to further acceleration.
"Researchers have looked at what's happening here at Lindholmen Science Park and they've called it 'management in between'. And that's exactly what it's all about. When I came here from Volvo Group, I was extremely fascinated by how this concept could be of such great benefit to a large, global industrial company. It's about taking very small steps, cultivating the ties that bind us, listening, and enabling and creating meetings.
"On a national level, we can see how Lindholmen Science Park has hosted a number of initiatives, such as the new AI arena AI Innovation of Sweden and initiatives in future mobility, including Drive Sweden and CLOSER, which gather expertise in Sweden and even internationally to stimulate development. Lindholmen Science Park truly is an accelerator for innovation.
"In order for the Gothenburg region to continue to develop and to attract talented individuals and get them to thrive, we need many different things – housing, good schools, jobs, culture. These are areas where the city and the region have several excellent shared arenas, and Lindholmen Science Park is one of them. We all have to leverage them and continue to involve ourselves in our continued development. The possibilities are endless."
Lindholmen Science Park in Gothenburg is jointly owned by Chalmers University of Technology, the City of Gothenburg and trade and industry. Lindholmen Science Park is a non-profit company striving to realise its vision to strengthen Sweden's competitiveness, with a focus on future mobility for both people and goods and by means of two mandates. On the one hand the company develops the ecosystem within the geographic confines of Lindholmen Science Park, and on the other hand manages programmes and activities for innovation and research.