Johnny Högberg is the new CEO of Flemingsberg Science. His objectives include attracting more companies to the area and strengthening Flemingsberg’s existing innovation support system.
In some ways, his role as CEO of Flemingsberg Science is more challenging than his previous assignment heading Skellefteå Science City. In Skellefteå, he was tasked with building an innovative development environment from scratch, while in Flemingsberg there is already a number of well-established entities that work in collaboration with each other.
“We shall continue to be a neutral party that drives collaboration between academia, business and the public sector. I also see several areas where we can benefit from building more collaboration and together attract more businesses to Flemingsberg,” says Högberg.
His calendar is packed with meetings to help him to get to know his neighbours in Flemingsberg.
“Meeting people, getting to know new places and ideas has always been something that has energised me,” he says.
Present: New CEO of Flemingsberg Science
Previously: CEO of Skellefteå Science City
Family: wife Tora, and two children, 4 and 1
Lives in: Årsta, Stockholm
Hobbies: golf, running, travel, supporting Färjestad ice hockey team
Surprising fact: Swedish national football champion for Västerbotten.
Campus Flemingsberg impresses
Its role as a collective force has made Flemingsberg Science a hub in the development of the area over the past 10 years. Among the most important achievements has been the development of Campus Flemingsberg, where five universities, an art school, and a high school share the same vision for the campus.
“The collaboration behind campus Flemingsberg is very impressive: it has needed consensus between a large number of aspirations and specialisations. Continuing to develop the campus area and the collaborative spirit is important. Now it needs to be balanced by increasing attractiveness to business,” Högberg says.
Broadening the innovation system
The Foundation’s mission in the coming years is still not formally determined. But Högberg has a notebook brimming with ideas.
“We’ll have to see who’s the right match, but strengthening the innovation support system is important,” he says.
He has a pragmatic attitude towards the development of the area and believes that there are no rights or wrongs.
“The only risk is not doing anything at all. One of my strengths is designing new ideas and running things I believe will work,” Högberg adds.
He anticipates a deeper collaboration between actors that currently engage in innovation support activities in the area.
“More collaborations would increase the potential for supporting cross-silo ideas.”
Broadening the innovation support system is important, while at the same time supporting today’s niche environments in the best way possible.
Flemingsberg becomes a city
Historically, there has been a lack of suitable premises for more businesses and other activities in the area. Now Flemingsberg is on the threshold of a transformative development project: the new city area Flemingsbergsdalen,with housing, offices and research premises, will be built around the train station. In the coming 10 years, Flemingsberg is set to grow to around 50,000 residents and 50,000 workers – equivalent to a medium-sized Swedish city.
“The development offers considerable opportunities. We currently lack premises in the area and we need more businesses to come here. The development of Flemingsbergsdalen strengthens the attractiveness of the area and creates opportunities for small and large companies,” Högberg says.
Alfa Laval has already decided to open a new office and innovation centre in Flemingsberg, and the Royal Swedish Opera and Dramaten are jointly relocating some of their activities to a site in Flemingsbergsdalen.
“We’re creating an attractive environment for cultural activities in Flemingsberg. An area that complements today’s niche environments in research and education. We offer opportunities for exciting crossovers that improve the area’s nightlife.”
More projects in the future
Novum, home to Flemingsberg Science, is also undergoing considerable renewal, and is set to become a meeting place for health, business, research and education. Several cafes and restaurants are planned for street level. The area is ideal for organizations operating in the space between entities already based in Flemingsberg. Two people currently run Flemingsberg Science, but this may also change, Högberg says.
“We don’t have the intention of creating a large organization, but I think we can feel good about growing something that will attract more initiatives and projects.”