The experiential industry brings together, among other things, the hospitality industry, trade, sports events and larger parts of the cultural sector. The pandemic has had dramatic consequences for the industry, which accounts for a growing part of the Swedish economy. To ensure sustainable development with a digital focus, an innovation program for the experiential industry is to be established at Lindholmen Science Park in Gothenburg.
The experiential industry can be described as the intersection between industries where the experience is in focus. With the acceleration of digitalization and data driven as a consequence of the pandemic, new opportunities for growth were offered; both for the companies ensuring the experience and the companies producing the technologies.
“The challenge is to create competitive companies and at the same time reduce our climate footprint. With this program, new innovations can be created based on Western Sweden’s knowledge-intensive environments”, says Kristina Jonäng, chairman of the regional development committee at Region Västra Götaland, one of the initiators and main financier.
The program is based on the study Ways to Sustainable Growth – A feasibility study on the experiential industry of the future in Western Sweden by Professor Ola Bergström at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg. In addition to Region Västra Götaland, the companies Gothenburg & Co, the Tourist Board of Western Sweden and the Visiting Industry’s Research and Development Fund are behind the initiative. Several companies have already shown interest in creating profile projects. An example is Mastercard, which is already collaborating with Gothenburg & Co in the “Destination Data Platform” project.
“Gothenburg and Western Sweden have a unique opportunity to take on a role as a national innovation node for an area that is currently pointed out by both the EU and the Swedish government with a high potential. It is particularly satisfying to be able to present a major investment that will contribute to more innovation in the hospitality and culture industries in the region”, says Peter Grönberg, CEO of Gothenburg & Co.
The partnership already includes the Gothenburg Opera, Läckö Castle and Universeum, as well as other innovation actors such as Science Parks and Science Centers in Trollhättan, Borås and Skövde. The investment is three years long and the focus in 2022 will be on mobilizing actors who want to be a part of the project to support sustainable development and create new international businesses.
“We will use our experience of building large national partnerships, as we did with AI Sweden. This investment will give great synergies with the other innovation programs that we run within digitization and mobility”, says Tord Hermansson, CEO of Lindholmen Science Park, which is hosting the investment.