Why trust matters in creating an innovative environment

NFGL member Mohamad Youness from Lebanon shares what he learned on a recent SI study visit to the Mjärdevi Science Park in Linköping.

Why trust matters in creating an innovative environment

I would like to share a summary and short reflection following my study visit to Mjärdevi Science Park on October 12th.

I will start off by saying it was one of the most inspiring events I have ever experienced. The first session was hosted by Anna Broaders, who presented the science park and Creactive.

It was exciting to learn about the science park’s vision and mission, and how it targets businesses, academia, society and citizens. It was also beneficial to learn about some of the startups funding and guiding events.

The day continued with Magnus Broeders who was presenting Indentive, a software development company that describes itself as a “development house”.

Magnus talked about Indentive’s services along with some examples and also presented their new product related to the Internet of Things (IoT).

After a pleasant lunch, we had a rousing presentation by Sectra, a medical system company whose mission is to increase the effectiveness of healthcare by creating software that combines all departments in the healthcare system.

The presentation was followed by an engaging demonstration of a program designed for medical schools to enhance teaching and make it more enjoyable using a new 3D imaging technology.

We then had a fun walk from the science park to Linköping University where the visit finished with a fika and presentation by Elin Wihlborg, professor of political science at Linköping University.

Elin discussed the close relationship between technology and society using the Nordic model as an example of the role of technology in creating a developed and sustainable society.

She also talked about the dynamics of innovation which is summarized by a triple helix logo representing the university, industry and government.

I noticed that all the lectures had one idea in common, which is the importance of trust in creating an innovative environment (employer-employee trust/customer-seller trust/citizen-citizen trust/citizen-government trust).

Another thing I am still thinking about is that technology should not be used to exclude (intentionally or unintentionally) any part of society. As an example of how technology can affect society, Elin presented referred to a bridge built to Jones Beach in New York in the 1920s that was to narrow to accommodate buses, thus excluding anyone who could not afford a car from accessing the beach.

Last but not least, I was astonished by the Swedish concept of “Folkhemmet” which means the ‘peoples’ house’.

The base of this concept is that an entire society should be like a small family, where everyone contributes. The concept is the basis of Sweden’s welfare system were people feel safe, trusted, and a sense of belonging to this family.

I will never forget this event, and I will try to use the concepts I gained throughout this visit in the future as a NFGL member.

I would like to thank Swedish Institute for this amazing event, hoping that similar ones will be organized in the future.

Mohamad Youness studies cardiovascular medicine at Örebro University.


Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.