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Style, innovation & equality

Oslo Innovation Week attracts 250 speakers, 13,000 visitors and more than 300 hacking girls

The 15th edition of the international conference is special, with the host city being the European Green Capital 2019. This year’s theme, Explorers, highlights the people and companies who are able to bring solutions into the world. ”Ideas are not enough — solutions also demand action”, says Director Siw Andersen.

Words: Johan Magnusson

The project is supported by the City of Oslo and Innovation Norway as well as 150 companies, and has always been rooted in providing business solutions to help support the 17 U.N. Development Goals.

— We connect the most pioneering companies in Norway with an international network, put important topics on the agenda such as Powercouples, host 50% female speakers on stage with sustainable solutions at our core, and profile the businesses and startup ecosystem in Oslo and Norway, says Andersen. She’s also the Director of International Relations at Oslo Business Region and passionate about urban development, entrepreneurship and community building, as well as the intersection of people, tech and creativity.

— We are facing multiple challenges within transportation, pollution, food supply, health services and having a good quality of life. The global demand for sustainable business solutions increase as our cities grow. This year’s Oslo Innovation Week theme, Explorers, connects you with the people and companies who not only create these solutions but also those who are able to bring them into the world. Ideas are not enough — solutions also demand action. We have more than 250 speakers joining us.

What are the highlights of this year’s program?

— I’m really looking forward to see these people. Extraordinary founders, creatives and specialists who contribute to our everyday lives — true pioneers within their field.

  1. Stian Alessandro Ekkernes Rossi, Architect at Snøhetta.

— Stian and Snøhetta are turning waste into resources. I am really impressed how they are including experts from different companies and sectors through open innovation and the circular thinking aspect. Stian is an Italian/Norwegian architect who has worked with everything from great projects in the Middle East and Asia, to small treetop houses in Northern Scandinavia. The past years he’s been working on material research, circular economy in practice, and innovation, with the end goal of turning waste into resource.

  1. Sigrun Syverud, CEO and Co-Founder of Fjong: Redefining the Way We Consume Fashion

— Sigrun and her startup Fjong are really interesting not only because I used to work in fashion and am a textile geek, but because they are redefining the way we consume fashion. Sigrun has also made some bold moves as a founder, one of them is having 183 female investors. As a former consultant in finance, Sigrun felt like she spent way to much time, money and energy on clothes:

“I could stand in front of my closet that was full of clothes, feeling like I had nothing to wear. As well, if a special occasion was coming up I ”had” to buy a new dress, that many times only would be used once or twice.”

Fjong was born through this realization, and Sigrun will share more of the business’ journey at the conference.

  1. 300 girls!

— For the fifth year in a row, Girl Tech Fest, will be held during Oslo Innovation Week. Last year, 300 eager 13-year-old girls — and a large group of devoted volunteers — gathered to have fun and learn how to code. This year will be even bigger! Our future specialists, founders and programmers meet to have fun and learn how to code. I am amazed by the energy level and engagement of them all!