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Strategic initiatives 2018-2019

Since mid-2019, the strategic initiatives have been brought together in an overarching effort called the Viable Cities Transition Lab.

Viable Cities carries out two types of projects. Firstly, research and innovation projects that are funded through the calls that we carry out. Second, strategic projects that aim to enable the transition to smart sustainable cities by building the focus and the strategic whole of the program. Since mid-2019, the strategic projects have been gathered in an overall effort called Viable Cities Transition Lab. Here you can read more about the four strategic projects run under Viable Cities in 2018-2019.


The strategic project internationalization aims to increase opportunities for internationalization among Swedish actors in smart sustainable cities to strengthen innovation and growth opportunities. Internationalization is seen as a two-way process where Sweden should use the opportunities for both export of Swedish solutions and knowledge, and opportunities for collaboration, import of ideas, knowledge, talents, investments and solutions for the cities of the future. In the first stage, the project runs until the end of 2018, but continuation is planned.


The following issues have been in focus in 2018:

  • Mapping of Swedish actors' needs and priorities regarding internationalization.

  • Mapping of interesting international initiatives, cities, actors and cooperation opportunities.

  • Identification of needs and priorities for monitoring international developments.

  • Start establishing relationships with interesting international actors.

  • Develop a proposal for priorities in terms of business intelligence and internationalization efforts for the coming years.

Surveys and proposals are developed based on analysis of materials, interviews, workshops and international visits. A separate group has been set up for the project.

  • Project Manager: Mikael Edelstam, Miljöstrategi AB


Through this strategic project, Viable Cities will promote sustainable growth by analyzing and proposing measures to strengthen the innovation ecosystem for smart sustainable cities in Sweden. All types of actors have an important role to play in the innovation ecosystem such as municipalities as problem owners, citizens with their needs, entrepreneurs with creativity and business drive, start-ups and SMEs with their disruptive solutions, large companies with their market positions, universities and institutes with expertise and innovation infrastructure and so on. This strategic project is about bringing together the actors within and outside the programme (including other support organisations and initiatives) and fostering cooperation and collaboration for increased entrepreneurship and growth. The project will run in 2018 and pave the way for priority initiatives in the coming years.


The following activities were carried out in 2018:

  • Map and analyze the innovation ecosystems for smart sustainable cities in Sweden.

  • Identify the primary opportunities, challenges and needs in terms of entrepreneurship and growth in the area and define the roles of Viable Cities and its members.

  • Start pre-study on priority actions e.g. innovation clusters, matchmaking function, support for entrepreneurial ideas etc.

The project is run by a core team that combines desktop research with interview studies, workshops and analytical work.

  • Project manager: Jason Nielsen, Viable Cities

Liquid Roadmap

The Liquid Roadmap strategic project will look forward to 2050 to inform discussions of the future strategic direction of Viable Cities programme and its actors. Its purpose is to demonstrate how Sweden can lead development for smart sustainable cities with respect to energy, climate, and sustainable growth, leveraging on the Swedish research and development tradition, based on openness, neutrality, and flat structures. The projects will deliver and employ an Innovation Radar - an interactive, flexible, and dynamic tool for co-developing, visualizing and sharing ideas, including themes for deep-dives, foresight studies, and White Papers.


During 2018, four co-creation workshops will be arranged with 15-30 participants on the topics of artificial intelligence (AI), Digital Infrastructure, Urban Energy Systems and Mobility. Reports and position papers will be published based on their findings.

A pilot version of 'liquid' Innovation Radar will be developed with a number of themes for digital co-creation.

A methods group will be created, in which the pros and cons of various methods and theories and their possible pairings will be critically discussed (e.g. backcasting paired with dynamic capabilities theory).

All members of Viable Cities are invited to participate in the co-creation activities.

Knowledge Sharing

This strategic project will run from 2018 to 2029 and aims to cultivate a vibrant arena and learning community that enables world-class innovation capacity for cities and other Viable Cities actors. This requires an interactive process of learning and knowledge exchange. The project will develop a dynamic and interdisciplinary culture of co-creation that critically and creatively accelerates societal change. At the heart of this initiative is the creation of the 'Viable Cities Vibrant Arena'.


As a first step in the project, the following activities will be carried out:

  • Establish a network of experts

  • Mapping best practices internationally in Viable Cities focus areas

  • Visualize the Viable Cities project portfolio

A number of workshops will be held and a report of the mapping exercise will be produced. The Viable Cities development group has a central role in the work of this project and the development managers will work with both the establishment of expert networks and the international mapping. The work with Visualization is done in a special working group that involves, among other things, KTH's Visualization Center.

  • Project manager: Charlie Gullström, Viable Cities