Creating and sustaining innovation

It’s been a few weeks since the Innovative Sweden exhibition came to a close at MaRS, enough time for me to summarize my thoughts and impressions on its outcome. Overall, I think it was a great success!

Just like in Canada, innovation has helped transform Sweden into an industrialized and technologically advanced country that is prepared to confront the challenges of the 21st century. Sweden was fortunate to have a number of entrepreneurs who established successful companies in the late 19th century, and the momentum has continued to this day. Many Swedish entrepreneurs are now world leaders in their respective fields of activity.

The products on display at the exhibit weren’t from any of the companies that you’d traditionally associate with Swedish innovation. On the contrary, they were innovative products made by Swedish startups that are all relatively small and new. Innovative Sweden shows that innovation and entrepreneurship is, and must be, an ongoing process.

It is obvious that Sweden, and Canada for that matter, will never be able to compete on price alone. Instead, we must strive to remain among the top innovative countries of the world. I think it’s fair to say that most business owners in Sweden realize that to stay competitive, the only way forward is to continuously innovate and improve productivity.

Sharing experiences to promote innovation

Innovative Sweden was not only an exhibition featuring 20 exciting new innovations, but also a platform for stimulating discussions on healthcare, the future of mobile networks and sustainable energy solutions. I do believe that Sweden is well placed to share its experience on how to promote innovation. This is not only because we have a story to tell, but more importantly because we believe that our story can inspire us to do even better and generate even further co-operation with other like-minded countries. Canada is a good example.

The involvement of Swedish businesses was a vital part of the exhibition, not only because it showcased Swedish innovation in different sized companies, but also because these companies are the actual drivers of innovation. It also gave them an opportunity to share their experiences and learn from others.

Sweden and Canada: Great potential for further co-operation

I think Sweden and Canada have a lot in common when it comes to the mindset of our people and the nature of our economies. And I believe that there is great potential for further co-operation between our two countries when it comes to innovation. To that end, it is my hope that the exhibition has sparked increased contact between all the relevant players in both countries, including government, universities, research institutions and individual companies.

MaRS was a perfect fit for this exhibition—a good forum for discussion and for displaying the innovative products. The facilities and the location were ideal and MaRS lived up to their reputation as a service-minded and innovation-based organization.

So, I would like once again to thank MaRS for excellent co-operation, the sponsoring companies for their support, and all the attendees for taking time view the exhibition and participate in the seminars. I hope that this is only the start of a mutually beneficial collaboration between our countries since it is obvious that both Sweden and Canada can and should innovate!