Norwegian vs Swedish Innovation policies

Sweden and Norway have two very different innovation policies. Sweden are making tight connections to Bryssels while Norway is withdrawing public risk capital from the Startup financing market and asking the private risk sector to take main stage and help build a new economy as the oil dependency needs to be cured.

Sweden – Game Plan Europe

Significant funding is yearly allocated to Swedish research and innovation for excellence and competitiveness. In addition to national funding, Swedish actors compete for considerable resources in the European research and innovation programmes. By June 2016, approximately 400 Swedish organisations had been awarded more than 550 MEuro from the European programme for research and innovation; Horizon 2020.

Launched in 2014, Horizon 2020 has come halfway through its seven-year programme period. Considerable amounts of funding towards individual grants and collaborative projects remain to be distributed in the coming years, and novel schemes such as the European Innovation Council are expected to be introduced. At the same time, the Commission and member states are taking initial steps towards the coming Framework Programme.

At Game plane Europe we discussed how to maintain a strong Swedish leadership in European collaborations for innovative solutions on global societal challenges and excellence.

A Swedish perspective on European Research and Innovation
Sweden is an international leader in research, innovation and business. As such, the country has high ambitions for participation in European research and innovation programmes. Horizon 2020 has the potential to substantially reinforce Sweden’s investments in research and innovation and to drive international cooperation. The session presented political priorities for maintaining a competitive Swedish research and innovation system with a focus on European investments in the coming years.

http://www.vinnova.se/en/Publications-and-events/Calendar/2016/Welcome-to-Spelplan-Europa/?utm_campaign=unspecified&utm_content=unspecified&utm_medium=email&utm_source=apsis-anp-3

Norwegian named their plan: Good ideas – Future jobs

The plan allocates NOK 400 million in measures to make it easier to succeed as an entrepreneur in Norway. In addition to supporting the Norwegian entrepreneurial environment, is one of the aims to attract more foreign players, both companies and investors.

Minister of Finance, Monica Mæland highlight three main features of the plan that will make Norway a “better entrepreneurial country”: Make access to capital easier Making entrepreneurship and innovation to a part of education in Norway Creating a culture of rooting for entrepreneurs and accept that not everyone succeeds. – Many will fail Norwegian Minister believes that today is a culture in Norway where many fear to fail, and we hope the entrepreneurial plan will help change these attitudes. – There are many who think that it is shameful to failed, rather than looking at it as an important experience, says Mæland. – Many entrepreneurs will fail, the important thing is that they do it at as early a stage as possible of corporate life, she says.

https://www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/ff38c0b943c740fea43752f099a2632c/grunderplan_2015.pdf

Norwegian government criticized by tech entrepreneurs

The last weeks Norwegian entrepreneurs have openly been targeting the government for it´s innovations efforts. Public risk finance have been redrawn from the market and digitalization is still not at the top of the priority list.

(Norwegian/DN) Grunder Opprør – Entrepreneurial revolt against politicians

“In a new manifesto takes several of the most prolific entrepreneurs urged to spend two percent of the oil fund for start-up businesses, as well as create a super fund in ten billion.

Among the requirements is a separate digital department, programming as a compulsory subject in primary schools, a super fund of 10 billion was invested in entrepreneurial companies, as well as turning two percent of Oil Fund towards investments in privately held growth companies

(Norwegian/Aftenposten) Norge må sette digitaliseringen som øverste prioritet. Foran arbeid, helse, klima og skole –  Norway must put digitization as top priority. Over work, health, climate and school

(Google translate) The major structural shift away from an oil and gas-based energy is inevitable and will alone require significant new growth. It is necessary for the world and Norway will achieve climate targets, while oil and gas will ousted greener energy. Even with an oil price between 60 and $ 94 – significantly higher than today – must rest of Norway’s exports more than double in up to 2040 to compensate for the decline in the petroleum sector. This amounts to almost as much money as all state tax revenue from mainland Norway. So we need an enormous amount of creativity and innovation to succeed in petroleum realignment.

Here’s the solution: Norway must put digitization as top priority. Front work, ahead of health, ahead of climate, in front of school. Because we as a nation will not be able to achieve the goals we have set ourselves within these political heartland, if they fall outside the scope of the digital future. The policy will simply not work” 

The man behind this initiative – Frode Eilertsen, a former Executive Vice President and Head of Digital Transformation of Schibsted, global head of tech in the energy sector for McKinsey, venture capitalist and entrepreneur from the United States.o

Here is from the manifesto they wrote this week:

The Norwegian society is facing dramatic changes. The disruption that every day reaches new corners of our society, due to a rapid development of technology, the explosion of data and quantum leap in artificial intelligence. Now is governed by global players, it affects hard across sectors and turmoil will have major consequences for our society. Many Norwegian companies currently lack the ability to innovate within the established structures and the defects largely expertise to respond to the technological transformation. Especially vulnerable are the very large and established. Meanwhile, expect the stock market that these businesses deliver an annual economic growth of up to 20 percent over the next 15 years. In addition, the politicians that there are these old locomotives that will deliver new jobs.

We think it is not realistic with the current development. Historically, such growth only in exceptional cases occurred among the most successful gazelle companies. And today is competition from new start-up companies and global players too strong and gets stronger; operators not only threatens future growth, but ultimately all the sovereignty of Norway and the foundation of our welfare model – financing and control. Not only within certain sectors, but also within the community core areas – health, education, energy, transportation, banking, insurance – even public administration. Norway must therefore put digitization as top priority. No work, no health, no climate, no school. This is not because these areas are not very important and the sum constitutes the foundation of the Norwegian society of the future, but simply because we as a nation will not be able to achieve the goals we have set ourselves within these political heartland. If they fall outside the scope of the digital future, then the policy will simply not work. Then all the Norwegian welfare model threatened.

 

App workers unite! or Welcome to the 1099 economy!

18-homejoy.w529.h352.2xThis weekend I read a couple of articles around this new phenomena of the so called under paid “app workers” of Uber, Taskrabbit and Homejoy. To be honest, with huge investment from companies like Google Ventures, one could ask for better business models than wage-dumping to invest in. App workers unite! But does convenience services need to be build on a work force that cant make a living from their work?

Let´s see what happens next (more strikes ahead?) – the future of services built on just low paid, unskilled workers might not be the next big thing in Silicon Valley.

Update: The Sharing Economy’s ‘First Strike’: Uber Drivers Turn Off the App 

Heres some background to get you on top of the latest development:

BloomThat (Uber for flowers), and Shyp (Uber for packages), estimated that venture capitalists invested $1.6 billion in so-called “on-demand” start-ups in 2013 alone. SherpaVentures predicts that so-called “freelance marketplace” or “managed-service” labor models used by these companies are poised to transform industries like law, health care, and investment banking, and that fewer people have traditional full-time or part-time jobs as a result. This, in the firm’s mind, is a good thing. Read the full article in NYMAG here

“We want the company to understand that we are not just ants,” Joseph DeWolf, a member of CADA’s leadership council, told me at the Teamsters Union hall in Del Monte, California. “What we want is a living wage, an open channel of communication with the company, and basic respect.” DeWolf said CADA is signing up members, collecting dues, and plans to strike in LA if Uber refuses to come to the negotiating table.

It won’t be easy. Drivers are going up against a burgeoning goliath valued at around $18 billion. The company just hired David Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns; it’s active in 130 cities; and if company executives are to be believed, it doubles its revenue every six months.

Uber makes that money by relying on a network of thousands of drivers who are not technically employees of the company, but rather independent contractors — the company calls them “driver-partners” — who receive a percentage of its fares. Read the rest of the article in The Jacobin here

The Freelancer Economy is Here. Should We Celebrate? Early this month, the Freelancers Union released the results of an Edelman study which found that an astounding 34 percent of the U.S. workforce is now comprised of “freelancers.”

In considering the results of the co-commissioned study, the Freelancers Union was in an oddly celebratory mood:

But this is more than an economic change. It’s a cultural and social shift on par with the Industrial Revolution. Just as the move from an agrarian to an industrial society had dramatic effects on social structures around civil rights, workforce participation, and even democracy itself, so too will this shift to a more independent workforce have major impacts on how Americans conceive of and organize their lives, their communities, and their economic power.

This and countless other studies make it hard to contest the notion that the “end of jobs” is indeed nigh, and few would argue with the Freelancers Union’s assertion that this major labor shift will have a massive social impact. But whether we should happily embrace this shift is still up for debate. Read the full article here

Innovation: The Government Was Crucial After All

“The great advances of civilization,” wrote Milton Friedman in Capitalism and Freedom, his influential best seller published in 1962, “whether in architecture or painting, in science or literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.” He did not say what he made of the state-sponsored art of Athens’s Periclean Age or the Medici family, who, as Europe’s dominant bankers but then as Florentine rulers, commissioned and financed so much Renaissance art. Or the Spanish court that gave us Velázquez. Or the many public universities that produced great scientists in our times. Or, even just before Friedman was writing, what could he have made of the Manhattan Project of the US government, which produced the atomic bomb? Or the National Institutes of Health, whose government-supported grants led to many of the most important pharmaceutical breakthroughs?

We could perhaps forgive Friedman’s ill-informed remarks as a burst of ideological enthusiasm if so many economists and business executives didn’t accept this myth as largely true. We hear time and again from those who should know better that government is a hindrance to the innovation that produces economic growth. Above all, the government should not try to pick “winners” by investing in what may be the next great companies. Many orthodox economists insist that the government should just get out of the way.

Read the rest of the NYBOOKS article here

The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths

by Mariana Mazzucato
Anthem, 237 pp., $19.95 (paper)