Liveblogging the 2019 Nordic Innovation Conference, Seattle (8)–“Panel: Cities of the Future–smart, livable, both or neither?””

Pamela Tiller, Moderator, Nordic City Solutions, Hilde Tonne, Ramboll Group; Inger Gustafsson, Head of Silicon Valley office (at Nordic Innovation House), Vinnova (swedish government agency for innovation); Kristoffer Vik Hansen CEO Spare; Shcristian J. Kofod, Sustainability Manager, ROCKWOOL, Oyvind Birkenes, CEO Airthings

  1. Kofod: cities, 90% time spent indoors; 70% cities dealing with climate change; 15% of people live in energy poverty, including 40 million Americans; 82% Americans live in cities
  2. Birkenes: people spend more time indoors, so indoor air quality important to people; indoor air quality typically worse than outdoor
  3. Comment: much space in cities today is dedicated to transport–roads, parking lots; with better, efficient transport, more space is opened for people
  4. Tonne: for cities, need holistic planning, not just one sector (transport, health, for example); must ask people what they need. People want livable cities for themselves and their families. Competition between cities will be based on attractiveness of livability
  5. Privacy, Christian J. Kofod, moving from Nordic to USA regions, amount of noise, especially in hotels; need to develop privacy when we are in public areas
  6. Comment from Airthings panelist, some cities afraid to monitor school air quality, because they know it’s bad.
  7. Inger Gustafsson, Difference between Nordics and American approaches; in Nordics, role of government is for the citizens, not to cover something that private sector can’t or won’t. Also, Nordic public sector has money, from taxation; have money to fund projects, provide incentives for sectors to come together; business case is for cooperation, for opportunities, and for knowledge, to cooperate and bring sectors together. Can bring cities closer together.
  8. Kofod: outsiders need to see USA not just as one market, but many differences
  9. Hansen, business case for livable cities desire by people will come; example Arpanet designers didn’t think of Snapchat application, in the same way, these smart platforms may provide opportunities we don’t even conceive of yet
  10. USA contribution to Nordic culture? Birkenes, need USA innovativeness, “craziness,” willingness to take risks
  11. Tonne: value USA communities’ “community spirit” that can do things in new ways, like crowd-funding, crowd-sourcing

Liveblogging the 2019 Nordic Innovation Conference (14): “Panel: Nordic Ways–what can we learn? What should we not?”

moderator, Robert Strand; panelists, Ketil Solvik-Olsen, Former Minister of Communications; Alf Karlsson, Former Minister of Housing and Digital; Gro Eirin Dyrnes, Nordic Innovation House; Tuula Rytilä, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft

  1. Nordic advantages from several panelists: natural advantages, natural resources; shared social status; people aren’t afraid to lose in taking risks, because of social welfare system; sustainable development experience (want to be a role model in sustainable development)
  2. Nordic social responsibility–how your actions affect others; low social hierarchy structures; negative consequences for your actions for other people (Ketil Solvik-Olsen)
  3. Strand: lessons learned: need to build democratic structures; also need Nordic ; also Nordics have data
  4. What have we learned today? (moderator)
  5. Karlsson: one word: data, we have. Drawback: we are hampered by individuals not wanting to work across boundaries
  6. Solvik-Olsen: need systems that benefit all people, not just profit for single company
  7. Dyrnes: concerned with complacency in Nordic society; maybe can live a better life than these superlatives accorded Nordics; Nordics need to redefine “unicorn” company (not billion dollar company), what is it besides economic success, what about social and environmental success
  8. Rytila: Best idea today: “data for good”; “the only thing that matters is what happens next”; “Data and AI for good for society; so that the Nordic way can be everybody’s way.”

Liveblogging the 2019 Nordic Innovation Conference (13): “Robert Strand: Sustainable Vikings–Nordic ways of life and work”

Robert Strand, University of California, Berkeley, Executive Director

Did PhD at Copenhagen; obsessed with Nordics now; his argument: The world faces urgent sustainability challenges, and the Nordics can give examples of solutions

Sustainable development goals of UN (“World’s greatest development assessment) launched in 2015 till 2030; idea comes from Nordics; Gro Harlem Brundtland defined it: Sustainable Development

SDG INDEX (Jeffrey Sachs) shows Nordics at the top; USA #35

other than Milton Friedman and Michael Porter, classic American approaches to business as profit-driven, or competition driven, compare cooperative approach of Eric Rhenman book Industrial Democracy and Industrial Management (Swede)

Works at Berkeley with Henry Chesbrough, Open Innovation

SustainableVikings–working title of book on this; upcoming study that encapsulates these ideas; may have it done by next year’s conference

New Executive MBA immersion focuses on the Nordics

Liveblogging the 2019 Nordic Innovation Conference (12): “AI for Good–Can we make it happen”

Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Co Founder, the AI Sustainability Center in Stockholm, also worked at Ericsson, as Chief Sustainability Officer; Alf Karlsson, former Deputy Minister, Housing and Digital in Sweden; Vahé Torossian, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Western Europe, Microsoft (INSEAD, MBA University of Chicago Booth School of Business)

  1. Grunewald, risk of AI? She worked 20 years at Ericsson, “technology for good” platform; not a tagline. What about bias of technology, or bias of technology creator; machine or data bias; misuse or overuse of data; wrong use, as in face recognition. Risks: privacy issues and others, all compromise trust
  2. Karlsson: you must prioritize what you are going to deal with, of all the issues
  3. Policy makers’ role? Karlsson, need for regulation, yet politicians may not be the ones to make technology decisions (policy ones, maybe); AI is HERE, however; it’s up to you to chose as a leader. Need to get more education; says Finland wants 1% people to be educated about AI. In Sweden, still have people never been online. More education is key, especially for politicians. Raise awareness, for leaders and people.
  4. Grunewald: example, AI-algorithms influencing hiring decisions; red-lining mortgage loans, all AI-driven; risk of companies creating “integrity paradox” when you sign long-winded “agreements” just to get into an application, when you don’t know the ramifications; “Data is the new gold”
  5. Question: Business case for trust? Torossian: “Trust is everything.” Facial recognition, we may want to push for more regulation. Just like taking an airplane, you wouldn’t ride a plane half as safe for half the price.



Liveblogging the 2019 Nordic Innovation Conference, Seattle (7)–“Keynote: “Livable Cities–the key to world leadership in human happiness””

Hilde Tonne, Chief Innovation Officer, Ramboll Group, Keynote: “Livable Cities–the key to world leadership in human happiness”

  1. “Human Needs Meeting Technologies = Happiness”
  2. in 2050, 6 billion people will live in cities, two-thirds of world’s population; movement of people into middle classes, especially in Asia and Indian; 60% of land for new urban areas, not yet planned (thus a chance to make people happy, in livable cities, worldwide)
  3. Ramboll Group has Innovation Accelerator unit; example work, “hyperlocal scale, air quality”–“where I live” (representative Julia); example, Singapore high rise building; example, Copenhagen partnering with Movia, “transportation as a service”; example, healthcare in Hamburg, robotic logistics, takes 10-20% of workload from healthcare professionals; example Tampere Finland, autonomous transport; example Copenhagen waste-to-energy plant, built with ski slope on roof (combining happiness with energy efficiency).
  4. “Livability is enabled by technology,” not the main goal technology itself

Liveblogging the 2019 Nordic Innovation Conference, Seattle (6)–“Panel: Livable Oceans–the Role of Technology”

Amy Scarton, Moderator, Washington Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary; Per Reinhall, Professor University of Washington; Lasse Karlsen, Director of Technology, Norwegian Maritime Authority; Joshua Berger, Director of Maritime, Washington State; Olivier Cadet, President Kongsberg Maritime

  1. Lasse Karlsen, on autonomous ships, and new ship technologies; want by 2050 reduce fossil fuels by 90%; Norway a testbed. Autonomous ships save energy consumption.
  2. Berger, Washington State Governor’s Maritime Sector Lead; liaison role. Want to accelerate a “blue economy.” Using Norway and Nordics as a model. OECD says ocean economy by 2030 could double. Strategy Planning (released in January 2019): Work for Thriving, Low Carbon Industry; Global Innovation Hub; Growing Gateways; 21st Century Workforce; World-Class Cluster. (See Washington State Department of Commerce); Triple Helix, Private Sector, Government, Research organizations, plus workforce participation
  3. AI displaces tasks, not jobs (Olivier Cadet, President North American Region, Kongsberg Maritime)
  4. Berger: regulation sets ecosystem to help support new technology, and gives targets; Cadet says Norway has such an ecosystem
  5. Comment: in Norway, operator of the technology is responsible for its impact; another comment, yes: going into elevator today is safe, even without a person operating elevator (autonomous vehicle) because of previous regulation and licensing; Berger: regulators and industry working together makes it easier to assume risk
  6. Comment: as with aircraft, probable that autonomous systems backed up with people

Liveblogging the 2019 Nordic Innovation Conference, Seattle (5)–“Keynote: Electrification of Transport the Nordic Way”

Ketil Solvik-Olsen, former Minister of Transport and Communications for Norway, a “trailing spouse for wife, a medical doctor in USA now”

  1. Norway: Population 5.3 million; lowest population density in Eruope, after Iceland; 80 percent live in urban areas; 49 aiports with scheduled flights; 4200 km railways; 29000 km coastline, 32 ports connected to the national transport grid
  2. Transportation is main source of C02 emissions 31%; population growth means increased traffic; Oslo region population in 2014 1.2 million; by 2030, 1.5 million; 2060 1.8 million
  3. Transport: attractiveness and vehicles. Now Norway is Number 1 on electric cars; CO2 emissions beginning to decline from this factor. Will meet Paris Agreement because of these factors. Comment on electric buses: riders like them because they can talk easier on bus, much quieter
  4. Norway will have 60-70 ferries with battery-hybrid energy packs by 2021; experimenting with hydrogen-powered ferry
  5. Government is promoter or stimulator of market; helps develop a market
  6. Working to electrify construction industry equipment; excavators, for example, don’t move very far when onsite; easy to recharge
  7. Electric planes; photo of Ketil Solvik-Olsen with CEO of electric plane company–you need leadership to demonstrate confidence in new technology

Liveblogging the 2019 Nordic Innovation Conference, Seattle (4)–“2nd Morning Sessions, including Memorandum of Agreement”

Honorable Kåre Aas Ambassador of Norway to the USA (last year Grand Marshal of Seattle’s Ballard 17th of May Festival–celebrates Norwegian Constitution Day)

By 2050, global population will be 10 billion people; wants to speak of the ocean’s role; absorbs carbon dioxide, provides food. Yet much polluted, especially by microplastics. Washington State and Norway both leaders in dealing with oceanic issues like this. Norway making ferries electrified; also working on autonomous electrified container ship.


Honorble Cyrus Habib, Lt. Governor, Washington State

By 2030, state mandates 100% clean energy. Governor Inslee is pushing this; Habib thinks this will also create jobs that will be future-facing, as part of new technologies. Maritime innovation is important, and Washington State is also electrifying state’s ferry fleet.

Norway and Washington State signing memorandum of agreement to cooperate in these areas.

Chris Green, Director Washington State Department of Commerce and Gro Eirin Dyrnes, Regional Director Americas, Innovation Norway

sign on behalf of respective entities

Green says your partners need to share values and virtues; example, value of stewardship of environment; virtues of commitment and enthusiasm.

Liveblogging the 2019 Nordic Innovation Conference, Seattle (3)–“Panel: The Coming Internet of Things Big Bang”

Monica Nickelsburg, Moderator, Civic Editor, Geekwire

Knut Eirik Gustavsen EVP US eSmart Systemsm (Norway); Chris Hansen, R&D Director Nordic Semiconductor; Hjalti Thorarinsson, VP of Innovation, Marel; Anders Mikkelsen, Director Business Development, DNV GL

  1. Knut Gustavsen: IoT to digitalize grid, with drones, cloud computing; utilities are target market;
  2. Chris Hansen, from Portland Nordic Semiconductor office; Danish roots; been in USA 25 years; specialize in low-power wireless silicon; fabless semiconductor company; Bluetooth named for second Danish king;
  3. Jjalti Thorainssson, Iceland roots; now works for Marel, food-processing equipment maker; “been doing IoT since 1983” in factory in South Africa with 350 connected devices;
  4. Anders Mikkelsen, Director DNV GL, “Quality Assurance and Risk Management Company” and “World’s largest and most innovative Classification Society”; Mikkelsen part of maritime business area; building “Veracity” data platform, based on Microsoft Azure; see themselves as traditional engineering company driving into new area, to be relevant

Panel Discussion:

  1. Question on political environment: Ewaldsson: need a stronger research ecosystem in USA, like Nordic model; linked to USA competitiveness; China will make huge investments, also in USA; Europe a bit slower out of the gate now
  2. Question on IoT and emergency response: Gustavsen, PG&E needed better tools to know the nature of its own grid conditions; IoT will revolutionize tradition industries; with communication, ex: “eye in the sky,” drones, camera on helmets; help for predictive maintenance too, not just emergency response
  3. Issue: IoT about amount of data, not numbers of connected devices; security and personal privacy must be secure
  4. Regulation question: one answer, regulators need to take the first step
  5. Use and ownership of data; contracts between users and device providers and platforms just in their infancy (Ewaldsson)
  6. Question from audience: how can infrastructure how people manage wasteful consumption patterns globally? Answer from Marel representative: data on sustainable production of food products will help consumer understand these issues; Answer from Nordic Semiconductor: devices that run on batteries, if you reduce battery power consumption by half, you can increase device’s application tenfold; so cheaper, low-power devices can harvest much more data; asset-tracking will save a lot of waste

Liveblogging the 2019 Nordic Innovation Conference, Seattle (2)–“Leading the Mobility Revolution into 5G and IoT; Ulf Ewaldsson”

Ulf Waldsson, SVP Technology Transformation, T-Mobile

  1. Device Evolution; standards development, the success story of telecommunciations, from 19th century to today
  2. Nordic success story; government specifications, Nordic requirement–low frequency 450 MHz, big coverage, Ericsson and Nokia designed to it (1G); 2G end of 1980s, digital;
  3. Netscape browser 1994, Internet coming to phones, 3G
  4. Wide Area Networks, globally competitive Qualcomm; Personal Area Network, example Bluetooth, from Ericsson (named after Viking Eric the Bluetooth)
  5. 2007 Smart phones, iPhone, brought whole ecosystem onto device
  6. growth of smart phones, 8 B subscribers, for 5B world population; many have more than one subscription
  7. Sixty percent of phone communication is video; going to 75% in next 3 years; 5G needed, “rich in use cases”; a platform for other innovation; “one of the most transformative events in telecommunications industry, ever”
  8. Three million jobs in USA will be created by 5G; 500B USD worth of economic growth
  9. China investing 400B USD in 5G innovation
  10. transforming example: 4G led to Uber and other “mobile-first” industries
  11. T-Mobile had big foucs in LTE networks; 326M population coverage in T-Mobile network; 99% of USA population, low-spectrum networks
  12. If it can be 5G network, next year, 2020, will launch network
  13. On proposed merger, 3 rationales; “Leading the 5G revolution,” “Supercharging the Un-carrier,” “Creating new jobs”
  14. Want “5G for all,” “the true mobile, broad experience”