This is a reflection from our CEO Mia Rolf.
Having spent 3 days in an IASP (International Association of Science Parks) European meeting in York, UK, I have to reflect upon the struggle we all seem to have in finding our natural role in the innovation system, and in society. Some science parks feel threatened by the clusters, who are niched and thus clearer in whom to attract, and yet less restricted in that they are not bound to a geographical place. The diverse ownership of the Science Parks is another issue that makes it hard to compare targets, results and methods.
Four Swedish Science Parks were present, and made a substantial part of the group; Mjärdevi and Västerås who are owned respectively by the City and the Region, and Johannesberg and Ideon Science Park mainly privately owned. Even so, the two latter have taken the societal responsibility to drive attraction, innovation and entrepreneurship forward, creating more job opportunities in long run – and perhaps even branding value for the City, Region and the Nation.
What was said during the conclusion is that science parks all over the World need to make a transformation, and reform their role in society. “Science Parks need to be closer to the societies whose problems they aim to solve”, Catherine Johns, Innovation and Business Growth Director at NETpark stated, and I agree.
In the European perspective Ideon Science Park stands strong, in the sense that it has started to transform and is in the process of claiming its societal role as a driving force of entrepreneurship and deep-tech innovation in the region and for the nation. We want to help the region reach its target of most innovative region 2020, and we have aligned our focus areas to support the regions. We work together with the clusters, who are experts in running industry meetings and match make for business opportunities within the cluster, and we try to build arenas where the cluster organizations may take the lead, and if we have a role it is in creating business opportunities in areas the clusters do not cover.
But we could do more. Västerås Science Park has worked with Almi and Mälardalen University to define an entrepreneur supporting process they all work after, to make minimum double work and maximum effect. NETpark has involved the local society, to find what challenges they should try to solve. And Andalucia Technology Park in Málaga has used the knowledge from large corporations like Oracle to setup a mentorship program to help small to medium companies in their park to develop international leadership skills.
Based in Lund, Ideon Science Park is not building the future only for this city, but for the international society. Are Sicence Parks to become the Uber for entrepeneurs, in sharing assets in the innovation process, linked together in a global network? One thing is for sure. Innovation is not only technological and it never ends. At least Ideon Science Park has started moving and we are seeing positive effects already.
The dream would be to have a formal national responsibility – and budget – in representing Sweden internationally, being able to increase the 60 annual delegations of today drastically and driving the creation of the future, in some smart specialized areas. Ping Mikael Damberg.
//Mia Rolf, CEO Ideon Science Park