Hundreds of millions of people are consuming their favourite music via Spotify. Millions of hearts all over the world beat with the aid of a pacemaker and uncountable lives have been saved by the point belt. These are only a few examples of Swedish innovations that have made a real difference.
A century ago, Sweden was one of the poorest countries in Europe. Today, the same Sweden is world leading when it comes to innovation – this despite the fact that the country has one of the world’s smallest population with only 0,13% of the world total.
According to Innovation Union Scoreboard, an index published by the European commission, Sweden is ranked as number one in Europe and two in the world for innovation. Sweden also ranks 2nd when the world’s most innovative countries are measured in the UN’s intellectual property organization WIPO’s annual survey Global Innovation Index 2021. The reasons are many; a tradition around inventors, high degree of equality between men and women and a very strong belief in the individual. Something that historically has given us Astra Zeneca, Skype, Spotify, Ericsson, Volvo and many more.
Blekinge in the south of Sweden is one of the smallest regions of the country but still manages to have one of the closest and best collaborations between academia and private businesses. Perhaps the first innovator in the region, Fredrik Henrik af Chapman revolutionized the art of shipbuilding when he introduced serial production of warships at the naval shipyard at the end of the 17th century. Around 250 years later, one of the world’s most renowned players in the defense industry, SAAB AB, is running the shipyard and honoring Chapman’s spirit by developing world class marine technology in Karlskrona, the Blekinge city on the Unesco World Heritage list.


In june 2021 the region of Blekinge was granted funds from the ERDF to develop a Innovation platform for coordination of the development of specialisation areas and Missions.

From a regional perspective, and specifically for a small region, like Blekinge, The Missions method has emerged as a very important tool in addition to Smart Specialisation (S3).

Smart Specialisation +Missions

From a regional perspective, and specifically for a small region, like Blekinge, The Missions method has emerged as a very important tool in addition to Smart Specialisation (S3). Both of these methods have a similar approach: they are place based, they aim to remove silos and emphasize collaboration between regional stake holders and citizens.

In a smaller region like Blekinge, (pop: 160.000, a Baltic Sea bordering region with an archipelago) our biggest asset is cooperation and our ability to quickly mobilize for a joint goal, or Mission. We have also added the method in itself as a tool for us to develop in our S3- with the goal of becoming a leading European Missions region ahead and developing our region as a demonstrator.

Test-arena Blekinge

The smallness of Blekinge is also one of the region’s big advantages, making it possible to turn the whole area into one large testbed for new products and services. The five municipalities, the healthcare organization, the university and Blue Science Park have together decided to try new product and services within Telecoms/IT, eHealth and marine technology as well as internet of things, IT-security, underwater technology, remote healthcare and welfare technology for the elderly.

Volvo CE invests in innovation in Blekinge

Since many years, Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH) has together with Volvo Construction Equipment a close collaboration within the area of “Model-driven development and decision support”. Volvo CE is, together with six other companies and the national initiative “Knowledge Foundation”, funding a research environment at BTH aiming at strengthening the competitiveness of the Swedish industry through the development of innovative products and services. Volvo CE has for many years participated in projects where students from BTH and Stanford University work together to realize sustainable concepts for future products and services.
These are but a few examples of how accessible innovation competence is for those conducting business in Blekinge. And within just an hour you have the possibility to reach and in person meet with some 22.000 of tomorrow’s leaders, innovators and change makers – walking the talk of other regions and places.


There are three specialisation areas (S3) in Blekinge:

  1.  Smart industry forming and marine technology
  2.  Tech digitalisation and smart society
  3. Missions global societal challenges