– There is a major need for change in the region's industry, especially for the smaller companies. They need to get better at using new digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence and automation. In this way, companies can create new service offerings and reach a larger global market, says David Sjödin, project manager and Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Luleå University of Technology.
The researchers believe that companies need to develop so-called ecosystem business models, which are based on that several companies work together to meet customer needs.
Using new digital technologies
The researchers will also offer support to the companies in developing new technical pilots and testing technical solutions.
– It could be, for example, a system that uses artificial intelligence to predict when a machine is breaking down, or digital platforms that enable information sharing between companies. We try to encourage companies to adopt new digital technologies and their opportunities, says David Sjödin.
The project will be implemented in collaboration with approximately 50 small and medium-sized companies producing services to the process industry as well as 15 of their large customers in northern Sweden and Finland, such as Boliden, Smurfit Kappa and SCA. When it comes to SMEs, the researchers will identify suitable ones during the project.
– We have already identified a number of interesting partners, but we are also looking for more companies in the region that are interested in participating in this type of project, says David Sjödin.
Researchers with long experience
The research group in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Luleå University of Technology has long experience of working with digital business model innovation in industrial ecosystems at large companies (eg Volvo, Ericson, ABB). Now they are taking these experiences with them to the smaller companies.
– Small and medium-sized companies have quite different challenges than large companies when it comes to designing digital business models. For example, imagine a negotiation between a company with three employees and a company with several thousand employees. They have completely different conditions when it comes to negotiation and collaboration, says Vinit Parida, professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.