Strengthening Stockholm’s ICT Cluster, an ERDF project run by Kista Science City Ltd, is an interesting example of revitalising ICT industries with broad Triple Helix cooperation (public sector-academia-business), networking of small and medium-sized companies and cross-pollination between the ICT and audiovisual industries, in order to establish new products and markets.
The way the telecommunication and later ICT sectors have developed since the 1970s in the Kista district of Stockholm has been a success story epitomised by the success of the Ericsson Company. Built on this success, Kista Science City (KSC), the smart growth powerhouse of Stockholm and of Sweden, has continued to grow. But according to a critical analysis made in preparation for the Strengthening Stockholm’s ICT cluster project, KSC’s development showed both untapped potential, and also shortcomings. The rapidly developing web, as well as the audiovisual and creative industries, remained too disconnected from ICT, and were poorly represented in the companies of KSC. The first waves of ICT, very much technology-driven, were showing symptoms of faltering and losing momentum. There were a thousand companies in KSC, but they did not communicate with each other enough. KSC had not invested enough in networking, cross-pollination and peer learning between companies.
Part of the solution was running three sets of networks, partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The networks addressed (1) company-to-company peer learning among the CEOs of small and medium-sized companies; (2) topics like marketing and human relations, by running a peer learning network for specialists; and (3) cross-pollination between the ICT and audiovisual industries, by running practical developmental projects. The strategy to develop the ICT cluster in Kista, with multimedia-based cooperation between ICT and audiovisual companies, was started successfully, and the idea of cross-pollination turned out to be seminal. KSC has been able to establish itself within the creative industries connected to ICT. This has also happened within ITS (intelligent transport systems). Within the cross-pollination several successful concrete projects have been run. Altogether 338 companies and around 500 people participated in the various project events.