Our innovative strength is the sum of many activities that take place around our municipality and our region. Our university, our companies, our innovation support actors – and not least, our interaction within the region and our national stakeholders and financiers’ cooperation. We have incredibly in-depth knowledge in several areas. To a large extent, these are combined by a high level of commitment to climate change and deep and broad digitalization knowledge.

The past year has tried us all in different ways, but I thought I would dedicate this year’s last reflection to some positive things that happened during the year. Above all, I feel that the social contract has been strengthened fundamentally. In times of crisis, we all step forward and want to contribute in different ways. It is not yours or mine; that is the focus. It’s ours. We have seen many great initiatives emerge – and from our region, among others, “Pandemihack” and “Support your locals” have been started.

The pandemic has contributed to a historical change in behavior, and accelerated digitalization in a way we previously did not think was possible. According to the Internet Foundation’s survey “Internet and the Swedes,” more older people have started using the Internet, which measured 1% of new Internet users in the autumn of 2020. The survey shows that the elderly in society are beginning to stream to a greater extent, shop online, and use various communication services. During the year, many 70+ made their first digital visit to a doctor. The younger and professional groups have also increased their screen time, mainly due to distance education and distance work.

To quickly find what you are looking for, get it tastefully packaged and easy to pay for – it enhances the consumer experience. Companies and businesses that succeed in delivering these can breathe a new fresh start. And never forget that a close dialogue with the customer is invaluable.

It is not only in society as a whole that there has been an increased focus on digitalization. It has also been in our Science park. We further strengthened our Internet of Things initiative (IoT) during the year with a focus on public logistics. Stakeholders who identify new needs for public solutions, such as Östgötatrafiken, Tekniska Verken, and Ebbepark have collaborated with innovative companies to test new technology and new solutions. To be able to scale up the application of IoT in the next step. During the spring, a pilot study was carried out, which resulted in us establishing a node for ​​artificial intelligence (AI) in August within the national initiative AI Sweden. Together with Linköping University, Region Östergötland, Linköping Municipality, and VTI – who are the first to enter into partnerships, we are now trying to find ways forward on how we can accelerate the application of AI in both companies and public activities.

The digital meetings have been many. During this year’s Award Winners lunch, we heard many stories about how the pandemic has affected companies. The opportunity to have meetings around the world has created new opportunities. Simultaneously, it becomes clear which type of meetings that suits best for a physical context.

Another area we have started working with is Cyber ​​Security. We conducted training with 19 of our technology-intensive innovation companies to strengthen their readiness to avoid intrusions and hacker attacks during the autumn. Increased preparedness and security are an area that concerns advanced technology companies and all activities in society and us individuals. As our society becomes more digital, we also become more vulnerable. Gaining knowledge and insight about possible intrusions and (computer) viruses is a first step in increasing your security and protecting your privacy and data.

For the Science Park, the year has also been about finding new ways. New ways to be able to support the companies that need to deal with a changing world. Support for finding new markets, new offers, and new sustainable business models. Some have also approached us to find new collaborations and secure their future position. For example, in the IndX project, we have connected industrial companies and startups.

During the year, we have tried to spread knowledge and inspiration through reports and publications. Among other things, we released a trend report. We conducted a survey on distance work. We surveyed the Cyber ​​Security area in Sweden during the summer, and in September, we released a book about Community. Tools to guide you into the future.

this year’s Lucia celebration was carried out on a Virtual Reality platform.

In times of pandemic, our otherwise meeting-intensive business has gone digital. Our motto during the year has been not to cancel but to adapt. We are continually looking for new ways to engage our community in new ways. For example, this year’s Code Summer Camp was completely digital. That meant we could offer 400 children and young people instead of 120 to participate. This year’s summer lunch was conducted in the corona-safe format “Picnic in the Park”. with a focus on food, experiences, and innovations from the local area. The Mjärdevist relay (Mjärdevistaffeten), which this year celebrated 25 years, was also held with a social distance in the center. With times to start the race through an entire day. And this year’s Lucia celebration was carried out on a Virtual Reality platform.

Who knows what challenges next year will offer?

But before we embark on 2021. Let’s take time to rest, reflect, and relax. Let’s spend time with family – and digitally with our friends and relatives. Let togetherness be at the center in the coming weeks, and see you in the new year.

The team at Linköping Science Park has a digital Christmas after work to summerise and end this year.