Access for companies on the Nordic markets

How might the Nordic Living Lab Alliance assist companies in getting access to the Nordic markets?

This question was the outset of a co-creation workshop in Oslo on the 9th of June. Companies, living labs, municipalities and clusters all provided their input on the needs of companies, the perceived barriers and the needs of customers and users.

The barriers that was discussed centered around:

  • An immaturity of the market. This connected to the experience that the development in technology and new solutions goes much faster than what the market is ready to uptake
  • Bureaucracy – that the market is not moving quickly but rather slowly and that the public markets have a high degree of bureaucracy
  • Resistance to change – that the public market is resistant to change. That change management is a key in getting the right implementation but that this might not be a strong side in large public organizations
  • No ‘risk’ funding – that companies can get e.g. money from Innovation Norway to innovate and develop new products – but that municipalities do not have the same means for playing with innovation and taking risk. That in the ideal world the public side would have access to funds so as to be able to push innovation forth and take higher risk

Needs for companies

Following the discussion of the different barriers inherent the Nordic markets and maybe particularly to the public marketplace (as seen from a company perspective) the needs of companies targeting cross-Nordic markets was discussed. The following conclusions where highlighted:

  • Timing – call for solutions – a need to be able to timely identify calls for solutions. It was stated to be critically to quickly discover these so that you as company have amble time to react
  • Understanding the market -> How does this particular market work? Who are the right persons to contact? Could also be established via local partners which where seen as a good way of entering new markets.
  • Pilots is a good way of getting in and getting a market understanding. But also! Beware of the perils of pilots (e.g. that pilots take up to much resources and time without resulting in a sale)
  • Bigger collaboration between municipalities – having even larger scale on test and purchases
  • Info on law s & regulations in Nordic markets. In particular on the differences and similarities between the different markets.
  • Nordic and global standards – a way to move quicker forward and to get away from stand-alone solutions but receive more scale and possibilities of implementation
  • Structured entrance to a city/municipality – and a structured process for how you enter and go through the different steps
  • Product vs. system solutions. That a product, standing alone, is often difficult as it is not possibly to reap the benefits. Needs to be thought into a larger system solution – so there is a need to be able to both understanding the system and to be part of larger solutions

What the Nordic Living Lab Alliance will do?

We do not expect to be able to solve the barriers inhibiting company growth and scale-up in different Nordic markets, nor do we expect to meet all the needs from companies wishing to get high growth in different Nordic markets. However, we do see a need for bridging the Nordic markets and for good solutions being able to enter other Nordic countries. We will therefore during 2016 work towards this by:

  1. Creating a country info-sheet for each Nordic country. This will highlight the similarities and differences between the markets and will provide companies with an overview that they can use for selecting markets to approach
  2. Creating a map and overview of Living Labs in the Nordic countries and what these have to offer. We see the living labs and test beds as a way to enter a market and to get market understanding. So we will identify the different Nordic living labs and provide this overview to companies so that they can use it for establishing contact and cooperation
  3. Actively facilitate the matchmaking process between companies and their products and municipalities and living labs with needs that matches these solutions

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