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People-powered Transformation

Published: 4 April 2023

People-powered Transformation is one of 23 preparatory projects from 98 applicants within Impact Innovation, the next generation strategic innovation program in Sweden from the Swedish Energy Agency, Formas and Vinnova.

The aim of People-powered Transformation is to create a program office for attractive, inclusive and sustainable living environments, with a focus on the role of humans in the green transition and societal transformation in Sweden. We take off in municipalities and regions in northern Sweden, but are convinced that the learning can be scaled to the whole country and also internationally. The initiative is in line with the theme of the World Expo in Osaka 2025 - "Designing Future Society for Our Lives".

Co-creative design processes for place innovation

We use co-creative design processes with different actors (academia, business, public sector and civil society), based on the place innovation model. Together, we explore society's strengths, challenges, the system's inherent conditions and test alternative routes for system change.

Luleå University of Technology is the project owner and the municipalities of Boden, Jokkmokk, Luleå and Helsingborg are involved as partners, as well as Luleå Business Region, Region Norrbotten and SVID, the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation. In each participating municipality, an inventory is made of challenges that require the full power of the community or area in order to be changed. The work takes place in what we call Förnyelselabb (Renewal Lab) - a methodology developed at SVID. Since 2016, around ten municipalities and several public authorities have carried out these labs.

Purpose and goal

  • Develop co-creation/co-creation through design with academia, municipalities, regions, business, civil society and residents to achieve participation and new ways of working.
  • Develop an active and systemic design approach where entire value chains are involved and values are created beyond short-term financial calculations.
  • Create a global and transdisciplinary network as knowledge in the field of attractive, inclusive and well-functioning societies.
  • Develop a project model for knowledge of both physically and socially attractive and inclusive social culture and built environment.


The project is carried out in four agile work packages:

  1. Learn: project planning and knowledge
  2. Ideate: design lab for exploring the past, present and future together with project partners and other actors
  3. Build: mission formulation design lab
  4. Launch: mobilization and communication and dissemination of results

Expected effects and results

  • Groundbreaking new ways of thinking and acting
  • Strengthened identity and attractiveness for Northern Sweden
  • Co-creation and consensus for our mission
  • Comprehensive development of attractive regions, cities, places and villages
  • Natural meeting places/living labs for collaboration and innovation between academia, business, the public sector and civil society
  • Clear value for the needs of both individuals and companies to strengthen the region's attractiveness and competitiveness
  • Increased competence supply
  • Increased population supply

Project parties

  • Luleå University of Technology (Design, Architecture, Human Work Science)
  • SVID, Swedish Industrial Design Foundation
  • Region Norrbotten
  • Luleå Business Region
  • Luleå municipality
  • Boden municipality
  • Jokkmokk municipality
  • Helsingborg municipality


Åsa Wikberg Nilsson, project manager

Helena Godotter Karlberg, process manager

Impact Innovation eng