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Reflections from the organizer – Innovate for sustainable growth

Meetings between people are wondrous things. Interactions are important to us and socializing is a means to relate, evaluate trust, and share stories. We want to be inspired as well as acknowledged for our skills or expertise why meetings create a commonplace for either or both needs.

Pandemic or not – our need to meet urges us to grab the opportunities given.  While under current circumstances we must be careful and keep the distance in order not to create a risk to our own or others’ health.

With this in mind, we put a lot of thought into how we could serve all the needs mentioned as well as to make a safe conference, that is still relevant and attractive.

The solution was to split the event into chunks and to spread them out at different locations – all related to life science somehow. In order to provide for more than one very small event, we needed to connect these chunks to each other in a sequential manner – generating a joint program, where each chunk was to be filmed and shared in a common stream visible to anyone. Thus, attendees at any location or from home could still follow and view each slot as if they were on a large event.

In addition, to enhance the multi-location arrangement we wanted to have someone traveling in between the sites showing up just after each slot to perform guerilla journalism by interviewing on spot. That would show another aspect of the meeting to diversify the communication visualized in a completely different way.

With Uppsala being fortunate to have three separate science parks, all dedicated to or at least dominated by life science and related businesses, at least three locations were necessary for the program. For legacy purposes – both as a historical setting as well as the location for the first Uppsala LIFE, we chose to host the whole event from the great hall at Uppsala castle, providing a fourth location to the already challenging logistics.

The theme for the event was Innovate for sustainable growth.

Sustainable development can feel overwhelming at first. And there are as many interpretations as there are people to interpret it. 

The program for this year’s event aimed to display different aspects of sustainable development. The opening emphasized ecosystems and the importance of a holistic perspective, where each part is related to the others. On convergence, trends, and transformations covering much more than life science. 

Green Innovation Park delivered a program showing the diversity of life science as well as solutions to meet sustainability challenges before the slot from Uppsala Business Park elaborated on how to adapt and be successful in a volatile and unpredictable market environment. At Uppsala Science Park three serial entrepreneurs talked about the benefit of continuous collaboration between academia and enterprises, showing not just a one-time transition, but a back and forth co-creation utilizing the full potential of similar partnerships. 

Lastly, the dialogue from Uppsala castle put the finger on the importance of working together, learning, and making use of value chains and others’ strengths, nationally and internationally. Again coming back to the ecosystems approach, closing the circle.

In addition, before the event, we contacted organizations related to Life science and asked whether they would like to provide short movies telling their ambitions with sustainability and how they work with sustainable development, in order to inspire others. We are very pleased that twelve organizations chose to do this and we shared them with the audience in the breaks.

All parts showing the strengths and importance of sustainable development.

We were convinced that under the circumstances this way of organizing the event would provide possibilities not applicable if we were to chose a completely digital online event. And gathering larger crowds was not just possible – nor responsible. 

With an international audience as well as many from outside of Uppsala we are proud to attract strong competition with lots of other online events. In addition, this opened for us to show the strengths and potential of Uppsala Life science to a larger audience which could prove to be valuable in the future.

Uppsala LIFE has now been arranged for a second time meaning it’s a tradition we are committed to continuing with – and we are very pleased for all your positive and relevant feedback provided in the survey, meaning we can improve for next years’ event.

We hope to see you sooner though.


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