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We're working the wrong way - we need to date more!

I reread a quote the other day: "in the past, work was about muscles, now it's about the brain, but in the future, it will be about the heart"

I want to remember that I thought it was an apt quote, but I had a little trouble defining the how; how will the future be about the heart? But now, after a couple of years at RISE, at the forefront of research and innovation, I have begun to realize that everything is more or less about relationships; people, people and again people.

We need to speed up the transition to a more sustainable and equal society and find more efficient and sustainable ways to get there. We need to find new ways of working. Focusing on the actors' core activities only results in no one really owning the issue and ending up in time-limited engagements and funding, instead of long-term thinking and collaboration.

We need to find new ways of working

If we are to succeed in the major social transformation, we need to be brave enough to make uncomfortable decisions. We cannot solve our problems in the same way as we have done before, it is too slow. We are moving from a world defined by organizations with hierarchical organization, demanding responsibilities and divisions of labour, to a society more characterized by dynamic networks, complexity and ecosystems with diffuse boundaries between the cooperating parts.

More and more people are beginning to understand that we need to come together to find solutions, but we are not used to acting without a clear hierarchy and with set rules. There is often a lack of political support, organizational priorities and conditions for cross-border cooperation, which means that many people feel that they are encountering obstacles to collaboration and co-creation.

Let me take a concrete example. The amounts of waste in Sweden and the EU continue to increase. Construction and demolition waste alone accounts for a significant part of the total waste in Sweden and the EU, in Sweden approx. 12.4 million tonnes per year, but the figure that the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency states today is that only 1.8% is recycled while 80% of the public funds go to men and male-dominated industries and only 1% of Swedish venture capital go to female innovators and entrepreneurs. So despite the circular investments of recent years, we have not managed to implement them on a larger scale. I believe that leading change, renewal and innovation in complex processes is an ability that needs to be gradually built up together.

Who should be responsible for investing in a new technology, a new innovation? Is it the municipality that should go first, even though it is not their core mission? Is it the company that should invest despite the fact that the legislation is not in place and that it could then create a big risk for the investment? Is it the region that will finance the investment to be able to spread the lessons learned to other municipalities?

It is slow and complex in the innovation system. Commitment and timing disappear. Overall, this means that results and lessons learned from projects are not implemented and opportunities for collaboration are limited.

So how can we increase knowledge together?

I believe that it is we, people and individuals, who create the meeting place - it is between people that ideas and success arise, not between companies and organizations. We need to build relationships and trust with each other, it is only then that we can begin to increase our knowledge together.

You can do many different things to create better relationships with other people. Here are some tips that can help

  • Start with a fika!

Have a fika and ask "what are your interests?". It doesn't have to be more difficult than that to start building a relationship. We need more dates and more commitment - "Take a fika and save the world"

  • Listen actively!

It is important to listen carefully to what the other person is saying, and show that you hear and understand what they mean. This can help show respect and understanding and can also help you gain a deeper understanding of the other person's perspective.

  • Show interest!

By showing interest in what the other person is doing and thinking, you can show that you care. This can be as simple as asking questions and listening to the answers, or giving praise and appreciation.

  • Be patient and understanding.

Relationships take time to build. It is important to be patient and understanding when getting to know another person. This can help create a safe and open environment where both parties can be themselves and develop trust and understanding for each other.

  • Give and receive.

A good relationship is based on a balance between giving and receiving. It is essential that both parties are prepared to contribute and support each other, and that one is open to receiving help and support when needed.

By following these tips, we can create better relationships with other organizations, and develop strong and rewarding relationships that enhance the well-being and happiness of both parties.

We at the Center for Industrial and Urban Symbiosis are developing a concept around a platform that should be able to do this on a more structured basis. We call the concept a resource hub. The idea of a resource hub is that it should be a way to speed up the transition and to spread knowledge as well as promote innovation.

Curious? Read more about resource hubs here Centrum IUS - Resurshubbar | RISE and if you want more understanding of how a resource hub can help you, don't be afraid to contact us Välkommen till Centrum för Industriell och Urban Symbios!


/Alexander Wahlberg

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