Planning and preparation for the Sthlm LifeTech project is well underway. Heading the initiative is Nina Lahti, the respected project manager, who believes that the development of the innovation ecosystem is vital for the future of the region.
Sthlm LifeTech is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is run by the Stockholm Regional Council. The project will further develop and make available research and innovation infrastructures in the region. This includes opening up the advanced development and production environments in Flemingsberg to small and medium-sized companies.
“This project will provide genuine ecosystem development to realize the innovative power of small and medium-sized companies in the Stockholm region. Ambition levels are extremely high and in the longer term this project is vital to the region’s development,” says project manager Nina Lahti.
Nina Lahti, Sthlm LifeTech.
Companies let down
Today’s innovation systems fail to preserve the innovative power that exists in the region, she says. Too many companies are instead forced to go abroad to develop, while others do not have the perseverance required to achieve their goals.
“Today, while there’s no doubt that we provide funding, we let down less innovative companies in terms of developing sustainably, achieving sales targets or establishing themselves in healthcare, and staying in the country,” says Nina.
When Nina was asked to lead Sthlm LifeTech, her immediate reaction was a resounding: “Finally!”
“I’d longed for something that could bring about real change. It’s almost impossible for an innovative SME company to successfully get an idea to market in the healthcare sector today. Now Sthlm LifeTech has an opportunity to change all that.”
Nina’s CV includes the development of a new care model for outpatient cardiac care at Karolinska University Hospital. This resulted in a completely new care supply chain that makes it easier for patients with heart failure to quickly access specialist care. The model is now used in several other regions and hospitals across the country.
“I’ve worked with a number of strategic partnerships over the years, I understand the process, and I can orientate myself in a given context. And you need to have a good understanding of the process to be able to lead the sort of changes Sthlm LifeTech will bring.
“This is a complex project where we need interdisciplinary organizational change. A challenge that suits me down to the ground!”
Nina attended one of the highest ranked business schools in the world, INSEAD, and is ISO-certified as a Certified Innovation Management Professional by RISE. Her career has involved a number of leading positions in personnel-intensive businesses where she worked extensively with leadership issues.
“It’s important to create a safe framework for people where they can develop, at the same time as you constantly push them so that they move forward. I like working with people and learning new things.”
Started with a needs analysis
In Flemingsberg, it is primarily ANA Futura and Vecura that can be made more available to more small and medium-sized companies working with advanced therapies – opportunities that can drive the growth of small and medium-sized companies in life science.
“Among other projects, we’re launching a needs analysis and look at how we can create different pilot projects that match those needs. Project goals include a greater understanding of what regulatory obstacles exist today and what development and business models need to look like in the future.”
Activities in Flemingsberg, together with the latest development of Campus Flemingsberg, provide the region with a winning combination, Nina says.
“There are some fantastic businesses here, and now we need to understand how they and the innovation system can make them accessible and visible to our innovative SME companies,” she says.
“We need to create an understanding among all stakeholders about where they are in the ecosystem and how they can easily get their bearings to find the right opportunities. And there are so many amazing people in the innovation system, so I’m convinced that we’ll succeed in creating something great.”
Family: two children, 17 and 20
Lives: Vasastan, Stockholm
As a child, her family emigrated from Finland in a yellow Fiat with the boot filled with potatoes because her grandparents weren’t sure if there was any food in Sweden.
Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash