JETRO Global Connection -Accelerate Innovation with Japan-

Overview of the innovation ecosystem at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Innovation Promotion Division
November 11, 2019

IJETRO sent Open Innovation Missions to three Nordic countries (Sweden, Finland, and Estonia) from September 30 to October 4 and conducted business matching programs for Japanese companies seeking to collaborate with local startups (refer to the article on October 29, 2019). The Japanese companies visited Sweden on September 30 before Finland (November 11, 2019, article) and Estonia (November 11, 2019, article). Prior to the business meetings, local organizations, including Business SwedenA new window will open. , the Swedish government’s investment promotion organization, explained local business trends and open innovation.

According to Business Sweden’s Head of Technology and Startup Lead, Marie Maxwell (responsible for Asia Pacific), Sweden ranks third in the Global Innovation Index, a global indicator of innovation, and The world's second largest unicorn (Note 1) per capita. Thus, the country has established itself as an advanced nation for innovation and is actively investing in science and technology throughout the country to maintain and develop this advantage. In fact, the country spends 3.33% of its GDP on research and development (R&D), which is more than the OECD average of 2.37%.

Next, Lisa Ericsson, Avd. Chef Innovation at the KTH Royal Institute of TechnologyA new window will open. , introduced the ways in which the university supports startups. In addition to investing in R&D, KTH is actively providing business support, such as intellectual property rights protection, education on fundraising methods, pitch (Note 2) training, and commercialization. The university plays a central role in the R&D human resource community in Stockholm.

Additionally, Linda Krondahl, CEO of THINGS StockholmA new window will open. , a local startup support organization, and Peter Alberius, Head of International Business Development at the RISE Research Institutes of SwedenA new window will open. , introduced examples of open innovation in Sweden. RISE has been working with KTH, related organizations, and companies since 2016 to support a demonstration experiment called “Urban ICT (Information and Communication Technology) ArenaA new window will open. ,” with the aim of promoting the transformation of Stockholm into a smart city. So far, more than 60 projects have been started. According to Peter Alberius, “Supporting science can lead to impactful innovation,” pointing out the importance of universities in innovation.

After the exchange of opinions, the Japanese and local companies held active business meetings and networking.

JETRO plans to launch a mission in Munich, Germany, in early March 2020, to send a group of Japanese companies interested in open innovation.

Presentation by RISE (photo by JETRO)

Presentation by Business Sweden (photo by JETRO)

Open Lab located on the campus of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. The venue for the first day of the mission (photo by JETRO)

(Note 1) Unlisted companies with a corporate value of $1 billion or more.
(Note 2) A short presentation for investors.

(NAKAYAMA Takaaki)

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