An action plan for a digital Värmland takes shape

Värmland is collaborating with two other European regions within the framework of the EU project DigiTeRRI to support digital development. Two out of three workshops have been held and an action plan is starting to take shape. Around 50 representatives of companies, the public sector, and organisations came together to identify needs and generate ideas for how Värmland can move ahead on the journey that is digitisation.

The first workshop was conducted in late January with around 40 participants. A vision was established of Värmland as an attractive and sustainable region where everyone is part of the digital society. The key concepts include flexible infrastructure, quality of life, and local activity and global growth. The next workshop took place just under two months later and focused on goals, direction, and concrete action. What should the concrete goals be and what do we need to do to reach them?

Magnus Bårdén, CEO of Compare and Digital Well Arena, kicked the workshop off by sharing a few initiatives launched by Compare since the acceleration of the pandemic a year ago.

“In March 2020, as society shut down, we focused on additional initiatives for companies in the region. One example is the innovation support, which has so far resulted in more than 70 companies receiving support and 12 companies establishing a partnership with the University. 10 new services have been rolled out and another 12 are on the way with new prototypes. We have developed services such as innovation forums, experts on call, and start-up support for new businesses. We also established an accelerator for the top companies. There is great power in cooperation and moving from collaboration to collaborative action – not being afraid to take a risk, trying new solutions, and doing things together. A lot of the time, it’s not tech-related at all.”

digitala Värmland

Group discussions with different themes
During the workshop, groups discussed digitisation based on the themes of knowledge and competence, networks and partnerships, and technology. The ideas generated were related to elements like concrete training needs, showcasing the great examples of ongoing digitisation activities, improvements to infrastructure, and continuous professional development.

“We will supplement the ideas from the workshop with surveys and focus groups to develop the concrete goals and action plan”, says Éamonn McCallion, project manager at Karlstad University.

Digiterri in Värmland is also connected to the work done within the frameworks of Smart specialisation and the Värmland Strategy. The next Digiterri workshop will be in November and focus on implementation and the next step.

The EU project Digiterri includes the regions of Värmland; Styria, Austria; and Grand Est, France. The project utilises RRI, Responsible Research Innovation –a method for sustainable social, economic, and ecological development. The project in Värmland is managed by Karlstad University, Paper Province, and Region Värmland. The overall project coordinator is the Austrian Institute of Technology in Vienna.