Future common Nordic challenges to the health and welfare sector call for innovative solutions. The Innovative Nordic Welfare Solutions lighthouse project aims at making the Nordic region world leading within innovative health and welfare solutions with export potential.
Innovative Nordic Welfare Solutions
The challenge of an aging population, more lifestyle diseases and chronic patients, and the ever-increasing expectations of the population as to what the health system should treat and solve, has placed health and welfare on the innovation policy agenda in every Nordic country. All the Nordic countries see opportunities for innovation and market shares in the global economy in this field.
While the public healthcare sector is not mainly responsible for being a driver of innovation, it is necessary for the public health sector to become more innovative and to adapt new solutions to solve future challenges.
However, there are system weaknesses regarding innovation in the healthcare sector. In the field of needs-driven innovation, market failures related to lack of information and knowledge, primarily due to a lack of interaction between the users and producers are quite apparent. In a world where user-centric solutions are more and more demanded and ability to integrate with existing advanced technology and processes is a prerequisite for success, companies with a smart way of interacting with professional buyers and users in their development stages, have a competitive advantage. Effective tools for innovation in the interaction between supply and demand are therefore highly desirable and demanded.
What is this lighthouse project?
The Nordic Ministers of Trade and Industry have decided in the Nordic Cooperation Program for Innovation and Business policy 2014-2017 to launch a lighthouse project on innovative Nordic welfare solutions. The project is one of the five lighthouse projects in program, and is owned by the five Nordic ministries of trade and industry, represented by the Norwegian and Swedish ministries. Nordic Innovation is responsible for running the lighthouse project.
The mission of the lighthouse project is to position the Nordic region as world leading when it comes to innovative health and welfare solutions. In addition to needs-driven innovation in a broad sense, focus in the project is on business development and export and on innovation set-ups like innovation centres and test beds. The project builds on the previous lighthouse project Innovation in the Health Sector through Public Procurement and Regulation, and expands focus beyond procurement to test labs, competitions, standards, etc. The lighthouse project is intended to both develop better public services and contribute to the development of the Nordic supplier industry with the aim of export to the rest of the world.
Why do it Nordic?
There are a many reasons why it is a good idea to act Nordic working with this field:
Different solutions are today developed for what is essentially similar usage. The problem of fragmented demand can be reduced through more uniformly expressed needs and closer cooperation on the demand side, and developing scalable solutions for a Nordic or European market.
Nordic ecosystem and infrastructure:
Connecting with the right type of capital, competence or partners can be important for an entrepreneur or a company to proceed in the development process. There are many important players in the ecosystem. Some examples are clusters, TTOs, test -beds, venture capitalists and other sources of investment or funding. In a specialised health and welfare technology setting, ideas should flow to the right partners independently of Nordic borders.
There are relatively few examples of good practices in each country – it is a good idea to share experiences. There is also a business case for shared costs and learning when developing new tools and practices and testing these in real life.
There are some characteristics of the Nordic market that could be the basis for creating a strong Nordic brand for welfare solutions developed in the region.
What happens in the project?
To reach the lighthouse project goals there will be a set of certain activities between 2014 and 2017. This section will continuously be updated with information and news about what happens in the lighthouse project. Also see the "News" section on the right side of this page.
Activity: The Nordic Independent Living Challenge
The five Nordic capital cities (Copenhagen, Stockholm, Reykjavik, Helsinki and Oslo) in collaboration with Nordic Innovation are organising a challenge prize competition on independent living for the impaired and frail elderly and disabled people, planned for launch in January 2015. The cities have identified a common challenge, and pass it to the market to come up with solutions.
The aim of the challenge prize competition is to develop solutions or technologies that will enable the frail and impaired elderly and the disabled people to live more independent lives and reduce their need for care – and at the same time secure and improve their quality and life.
The goal is also to make the public provision of care for the target groups more cost-efficient and sustainable in the light of the growing numbers of elderly in the coming decades.
You can read more about the Nordic Independent Living Challenge here.