JIBS professor new member of Sweden’s National Innovation Council
Hans Westlund, professor in entrepreneurship at Jönköping International Business School (JIBS), Jönköping University and professor in urban and regional studies at KTH, has joined the National Innovation Council, which advises the Swedish government on its innovation policy.
Professor Hans Westlund has been carrying out research on regional development for the past thirty years and is particularly interested in how innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth impacts regional areas.
He’s now using this expert knowledge to provide the Swedish government with new perspectives on key issues surrounding innovation and believes that an important topic for the council to discuss is how to spread innovation from the urban centres out to regional areas.
“Most innovations happen in the larger cities. How can we spread these out to the regional areas in a positive way? We have areas of Sweden that are mainly affected by the negative aspects of innovation, for example lost jobs.”
National Innovation Council
The task of the National Innovation Council is to advance Sweden’s development as an innovation nation and strengthen its competitiveness. The Council has an advisory role and provides new perspectives on key issues in innovation policy. The Council consists of members from various parts of the innovation system, such as business and academia, and four ministers responsible for various issues. The members contribute expertise and perspectives from their respective areas. The chair of the council is Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.
Professor Westlund has been part of several large research projects at the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Spatial Economics (CEnSE) at Jönköping International Business School. One project has looked at the concept of smart rural development and how ‘smart growth’ can be translated to rural regions. Other research has looked at how social capital, expressed by local attitudes to entrepreneurship, affect the rate of start-ups in Swedish municipalities:
“We have been looking at the attitudes of local communities and how this influences the rate of start-up businesses in that neighbourhood. These attitudes can either promote entrepreneurship or be an obstacle. Are these communities positive to entrepreneurship, are they supportive? How do business leaders perceive these local opinions? We’ve seen that local social capital influences entrepreneurship.”
Professor Westlund believes his research experience and long academic career can be of use to the National Innovations Council.
“Having carried out research on regional development for the past thirty years, I feel I can contribute to these regional questions. Also, as a professor and researcher, I know the university world well and have ideas on how universities can further collaborate with society so that our research is put to better use.”
Hans Westlund is professor in entrepreneurship at Jönköping International Business School and professor in urban and regional studies at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
More information about CEnSE can be found here.