They are based in what is currently one of the most expansive regions in Sweden. However, despite this, innovation is not something that simply happens. Accordingly, Piteå Science Park has engaged RISE to certify five innovation leaders. “In exploratory processes, it’s extremely important to know where you’re headed, and certification provides a quality seal confirming that we know how to get there,” says Greta Wimander, campus strategist at Piteå Science Park.
The world is full of incubators and science parks, but far from all of them have their own concert hall. However, in the case of the municipal company Piteå Science Park, the concert hall provided their very foundation.
“The School of Music is located in the municipality, and we saw a need for an incubator for the musicians’ ideas,” Greta Wimander explains.
This resulted in the Go Business digital incubator, which is now part of Piteå Science Park. Go Business works with creators in the service sector, but also has an innovation arena for heavier industry and renewable energy, the aforementioned concert hall and a wide assortment of other initiatives, activities and partnerships.
“The municipality wants to offer residents a broad range of job opportunities. Piteå is a cross between industrial town and cultural, creative industries. When we help these industries become cutting-edge, we become a more attractive town and an engine for the entire region.”
However, just because a place brings together a large number of creative people with great ideas, innovation is not a given.
“Up here in the north, we’re in the middle of a major transition, so we need to work with new things in new ways. This makes it extremely important to act wisely, to create something new. It’s that journey that makes it innovative, otherwise it’s simply just another project.”
You can pay for a course, but you can’t buy your way to certification
To create more opportunities for the required innovation, Piteå Science Park has made a strategic decision to have all of its innovation leaders certified by RISE.
“Naturally, you can take courses and get diplomas from other organisations as well, but certification is a whole other matter. It’s an extremely involved process, resulting in a clear quality seal that offers credibility. You can pay for a course, but you can’t buy your way to certification.”
The fact that the issuing body is an independent institute like RISE lends the certification additional credibility.
“Since we’re going to work with such large and lengthy processes, it’s extremely important that we can present a quality seal, proving that we can actually do what we say we can. The fact that it’s from a neutral party lends additional weight, since they have nothing to gain from it themselves. I highly recommend it.”
Moreover, it is not only in contact with external parties that Wimander benefits from her certification. Even in her day-to-day work, which currently involves the initial steps of drawing up a new strategy for developing the campus area in Piteå, she notices a difference.
“We want to consider the value of the physical location itself in a new way, and now when I’m planning this journey, I really notice just how much the tools I gained from certification benefit my work. A new project involves a curious – and sometimes somewhat uncertain – world, but I know that I have the map to guide us through the entire process, and that it’ll result in something good.”
To be certified by RISE, an innovation leader needs to complete the following steps: