Sweden often comes in the top three in lists of innovation countries around the world and the prospects of remaining a leader look good. Innovations often start with a determination to change and improve something. Fantasy is probably another important ingredient. Research that brings benefits yet another.
A long tradition of problem solving has gone into building Swedish society via closeness to and cooperation with industry. While calling Sweden a nation of engineers is a pure compliment to my mind in this context, another crucial ingredient is a democratic system and academic freedom.
The right to freely choose and to freely present your results – without the risk of being subjected to threats and hatred that has been the case in recent weeks and which was raised in a comment article (in Swedish) at the weekend. Being able to present your reasoning openly and respectfully as a researcher is absolutely imperative if we are to be able to dare to think new thoughts and dare to allow an idea to take root and flourish.
It is pleasing to see that the drive and desire to come up with good ideas and to innovate more are strong at KTH. Rules and regulations should encourage this knowledge in the best ways, and here I am concerned about some of the conclusions that have emerged from the government innovation inquiry.
Further integrating innovation thinking with research and education can benefit our already strong climate of innovation where theory and practical application should be equally self-evident and valued skills.
One big, exciting and inspiring step in this direction is the creation of our new KTH Innovation Award that has been made possible through donations. The idea is to present this award annually to entrepreneurs that tackle challenges, that dare to tread new ground and contribute to a better future.
Problem solving and ingenuity in beautiful harmony, as mentioned. Thank you.