Why does a collaboration partner choose to be part of Future by Lund and in what way do they benefit from it? During the spring of 2020 Emily Wise, Future by Lund's follow-up researcher, conducted interviews with fifteen of Future by Lund's collaborators. From this, a summary of observations and insights was derived. The verdict is that many see great benefits with Future by Lund and the work that is achieved in the in-between space through joint efforts. In addition, many good ideas have been presented for how collaborations could be further developed.
Most of the interviewed collaboration partners have been working with Future by Lund for over five years. One question in the survey explores the reason behind the decision to participate in Future by Lund in the first place. A common answer is that the members partake with the intention to become part of the network and to easily get in touch with other stakeholders within Lund's private and business sectors. Some have been invited to offer new perspectives on the collaboration. Additional reasons include finding new and creative ways of thinking, being part of the innovation system, participating in projects that can lead to future business, and to work in a collaborative manner with an interest in "making things happen".
– The interviews with the collaboration partners have drawn attention to many positive aspects of Future by Lund, such as how the platform contributes to results for the participating organizations and for Lund as a place, says Emily Wise.
The interviewees have also been given the opportunity to explain the effects of their participation in Future by Lund. The answers range from acquiring new knowledge, perspectives, contacts, and collaborators to operational partnerships. It is also about having gained a better understanding of the municipality / city and having been granted the opportunities to contribute, for example by implementing and scaling up ideas and developing products. The collaboration has increased the companies' anchoring and profile in Lund. One informant mentions that they have received support from Future by Lund's blue, green and yellow zone model to increase their understanding of how to work with a challenging task. Some of the most successful achievements that are mentioned from the collaboration are the inspiring events, the increased collaboration between stakeholders, as well as tangible projects such as Lundasupport, SOM project, Elon Road, Ectogrid and the Smart City Accelerator. Another achievement that is mentioned is that new stakeholders, including the European Space Agency (ESA), have started to take an interest in Lund and that the partnership has started collaboration with several other international partners (e.g. Boston, Amsterdam / Rotterdam).
The creative and innovation driven FBL members have undoubtedly many ideas for how the collaborative relationship could be further developed. Matchmaking is an area that several of the collaboration partners have expressed an interest in to obtain knowledge of other participants. One way is to work on projects together and another is to have a common platform. Many want to uncover further pathways to work more with tangible solutions to societal problems and to identify common goals. A suggestion to achieve this could be a portal that includes questions that need to be investigated, additional projects and developing better structures / processes for identifying issues, for example through more defined requests from Lund municipality. Another desire is to establish more well-defined ways to prove success and system relocation. Finally, there is also a wish to gain further information and knowledge about the outside world and the opportunity for international benchmarking.
When the collaboration partners of Future by Lund imagine the future, there is an ambition to also move beyond the perspective of Lund and work regionally, perhaps in Greater Copenhagen. "I hope that FBL can reach a place of tranquility and that what has been created in Lund can continue in some form, perhaps as an umbrella organization for several municipalities," says one of the collaboration partners. Some of the other ambitions involve profiling Lund's innovative work, which can lead to strengthening the opportunities for the city to attract a work force and students, and to find additional ways in which external partners can work with the municipality.
– These types of surveys are important for us to get response and feedback from our collaboration partners. The interviews provide a way to identify demands, our collaborators are our "clients" so it is important to listen to them and see what value we can offer, says Peter Kisch, project manager for Future by Lund.
According to the informants, the team at Future by Lund keep the group together and grow relationships with the various collaboration partners and understand their needs, facilitate meetings, develop contacts, inspire, seize opportunities and create activities. Furthermore, the members can see how the team create a bridge with Lund municipality, and initiate projects, locate funding, communicate and perform as ambassadors.
Do you want to read more about Emily Wise's work? Here is the link
Translation: Ben Dohrmann