The winning team: NYTÄNK/INNOVATIVE, studying Architecture and Industrial Design at Luleå University of Technology (LTU). From the left; Karin Nilsdotter from Spaceport Sweden, David Lindgren Zacharias from LZAB, Linnea Emmot Tiger, Joakim Forsberg and Elisabeth Ulander from LTU and Mattias Bergström from Centek.

On December 12th,  24 students from the regional campuses of the University of Technology in Swedish Lapland, representing different disciplines and nationalities, took part in the ”Innovation Factory” a competition in inventiveness arranged by Centek.

Competing in teams of four, the students worked for six intense hours on the challenge to develop an innovative concept to further visualise Spaceport Sweden and communicate to the world the ongoing development of commercial human spaceflight in Kiruna. How can we attract tourists, researchers, entrepreneurs and investors to choose Kiruna and also attracht them to try our new space adventures already on offer, further contributing to regional attractiveness and growth? 

The jury's motivation

"The winning team had understood and responded to the task with a creative concept. The target audience is clearly identified and the idea feasible and scalable with the potential to be implemented towards additional target groups. The concept will strenghten Spaceport Swedens reach and brand as well as contribute to the attractiveness of the region, contributing to sustainable development and growth."

 - This was great fun, Elisabeth Ulander said, from team INNOVATIVE, resting after a day's hard work. We've been very focused and worked well as a team taking advantage of each others strengths. We would love to do this challenge again, the approcach is great and we have also learned and been inspired about the vast possibilities that Spaceport Sweden brings and how we can be part of developing this new industry, Elizabeth says.

The concept put forward from team INNOVATIVE was to build a network of Spaceport Sweden ambassadors, personally tied to SPS yet located at universities and reseach institutes across the world. Ambassadors will be trained, inspired and connected wiht peers on site in Kiruna, collaborating to continously help advance their own and Spaceport Swedens's work across areas such as: research, experiences and entrepreneurship.

We are very pleased with today's exercise, and above all, we are really impressed by what the students have delivered, says Karin Nilsdotter, CEO of Spaceport Sweden. We've got lots of new ideas going forward, not only from the winning team, but from all six teams that really did some wonderful work today. Working with young talent is a key strategy and success factor for us etablishing a new industry and to inspire a generation to be part of our future and be an employer and region of choice, says Karin.

Participants were guided Mattias Bergström, an expert in innovation processes from Centek, David Lindgren Zacharias, coordinator of the Innovation Factory and Johanna Bergström-Roos, Project Manager at Centek. This exercise was supported and funded by Lapland Learning Centres, Sparbanken Nord and Spaceport Sweden in order to further promote collaboration between students in the region and the local business community.

- This way of working is very rewarding for both the students and the company, says Mattias Bergström, Project Manager at Centek. We follow a process that we have developed over the years and we see the method as a concrete tool for corporate product and/or service development. During 2013, we have six new rounds scheduled and we look very much forward to do some good out there in the region and be an engine for creativity, innovation and development, says Mattias.

Innovation Factory

The concept of this creative workshop was developed by Mattias Bergström at Centek and his former colleagues at Luleå University of Technology. Participants follow a process called 4I4I - Four I's for Innovation. The four I stands for Inspiration, Immersion, Ideation and implementation. The core of the Innovation Factory is to facilitate the process of creating new products and services for small and medium enterprises in the region. It is also important to educate young designers in the innovation processes so that they become a driving force in pushing up new businesses or develop existing businesses by expanding their product and service portfolios. The creative methods underlying the Innovation Factory has been tested in several companies that currently use them successfully in their own innovative efforts.