Young, creative minds in the Baltic region can drive innovation and integration. Balticlab brings these minds together in the same space to create and explore new perspectives and sources for inspiration. As the network flourishes, new opportunities for collaboration open up.
The programme is seen as a platform allowing young talented individuals from the Baltic Sea Region to create a dynamic cross-disciplinary network and develop future joint projects in the region. The aim is to build a network through looking at creative industries, media collaborations and entrepreneurial perspectives. More information on the Balticlab website at www.balticlab-online.eu
Balticlab Gold Book, published in January 2017, is a guide to the ethos and people behind this innovation programme for creatives and entrepreneurs in the Baltic Sea Region. With 11 countries and 300 participants from all walks of life, the progamme represents a region of diversity, openness and innovation.
Inside the book you will find the Balticlab community manifesto, as well as an overview of the members of the Balticlab network. This book is for anyone with a wish to find new collaborations and contacts across the creative and start-up scene in the Baltic Sea Region. Access the full book here.
Balticlab is an innovation and leadership programme, run in partnership by the Council of the Baltic Sea States and the Swedish Institute. The programme brings entrepreneurs and creatives in the Baltic Sea region together to explore new perspectives and sources of inspiration and to prototype the future. The aim of the programme is to the create a community and network of entrepreneurs and creatives in the region who know each other, can collaborate and empower the region as a whole to become more innovative, creative and prosperous. As this network flourishes, new opportunities for collaboration open up.
Balticlab is a way to provide talented individuals with mentorship and coaching for achieving their ideas and furthering their careers, but also to see a rise in their engagement in matters of importance for the development of the Baltic Sea Region. The Baltic Sea Region has become a hub for entrepreneurship and creativity and we believe this holds the key to increasing the prosperity of the region, creating a common cultural scene and providing innovation and inspiration for our joint future.
The programme is divided into two parts: an annual curated Networking Weekend of around 60 participants, and a three module Balticlab Ideation programme, which takes place in the spring and consists of a smaller group of around 30 people from the Network. The countries currently participating in the programme are Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland and Germany. The programme is also a flagship project under Priority Area Culture of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). Our past collaborators and partners also include the Goethe Institute, Strelka Institute, Tallinn Creative Incubator, Warsaw Business Hub, Tallinn Music Week, Hyper Island and many more.
Pilot Balticlab Networking Weekend
The Balticlab programme launched for the first time on 14-17 December 2012, when 67 ambitious creative minds and entrepreneurs from Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden gathered at the Entrepreneurial Church in Stockholm to discuss the state of the Baltic Sea Region, their role in it and how to make the most of its opportunities by working together. Gathered through an open call for the 4-day event, the participants engaged in workshops combining mapping, storytelling and documentation of their experience in their field and in the Baltic Sea Region. Respected lecturers and facilitators shared their own experiences, gave inspiration and provided tools and practical methods to guide the talented individuals in the region.
Among the speakers was Antanas Mockus, the legendary former Mayor of Bogota in Columbia, famous for initiating active civic engagement and for his creative approach towards cutting crime and fostering inclusion. More importantly, there was space for the participants to find future project partners, to voice their hopes and concerns for the Baltic Sea Region and to socialise with their peers through events such as a mixology dinner, LunchBeat and sound art performances. See the programme for the event and the list of participants from the weekend for more information.
Pilot Balticlab Project Development Programme
One of the drives behind the CBSS and the SI for launching Balticlab was a recognition of the relative lack of networks for young creative people, who are not politicians or civil servants, but rather entrepreneurs, artists and opinion makers, with an interest in providing new perspectives for driving integration and innovation in the Baltic Sea Region. The aim of the Balticlab Project Development Programme in 2013 was to support the personal development of talented individuals through providing them mentorship and a platform for working together on concrete projects in regional groups for a space of three months. As both the CBSS and SI are public organisations, the programme created a link between individuals with potential to drive change and innovation on the one hand and the politicians, civil servants and NGO’s engaged in Baltic Sea region territorial cooperation on the other.
The pilot Project Development Programme was hence launched in April 2013, when a group of 19 individuals from the pilot Balticlab Networking Weekend were invited to form working groups to develop four project prototypes that link their personal interests with the need to foster integration in the region. The programme participants met and worked during the interlinked programme modules in Malmö, 12-16 April, in Nida, 3-7 May and in Kaliningrad 4-8 June.
The modules were designed in a way that aided the participants in developing their projects, namely by providing them with management tools, contextual knowledge and coaching. At the end of the programme the four working groups presented their respective projects during the last module at the SEBA Conference on Creativity and Human Potential in Kaliningrad. The four projects are Baltic Design Ship, Mind Mill, Project Little Brother and Social Innovation Baltic. Read about the projects here.
Balticlab 2.0 Networking Weekend
Following the successful pilot initiative of Balticlab Networking Weekend in 2012 and the Balticlab Project Development Programme in February 2013, the Council of the Baltic Sea States and the Swedish Institute launched Balticlab 2.0 on 13-15 December 2013.
Balticlab 2.0 was a new and improved follow-up to its pilot initiative. Similarly to the pilot, Balticlab 2.0 brought young creative minds from the Baltic Sea region together into once space to explore new perspectives and sources of inspiration in the region. The programme added participants from Estonia and Latvia, with the Networking Weekend changing location from the Entrepreneurial Church to the Skofabriken in the Hornstull area of Stockholm. By providing opportunities for interdisciplinary talented individuals to network and come up with joint collaborations in the region, the aim was to support their personal development, as well as see their increased engagement in improving the region: making it more prosperous and more creative. The goal of the event was to encourage contact-building and expertise exchange among interdisciplinary talented creatives and entrepreneurs from the Baltic Sea region. Through facilitated sessions and creativity simulation exercises the participants were invited to critically reflect on their relationship to the region, to its culture, identity and how their own work can link to these dimensions. The weekend also included workshops on communication, future forecasting, project development, pitching and social entrepreneurship, in which the participants were invited to expand their personal field of interests. See the full programme here and the full list of participants here.
Balticlab 2.0: Project Development Programme
Out of the 77 talented individuals from the Balticlab 2.0 Networking Weekend the Balticlab organisers invited 40 to continue with Balticlab in spring 2014 in the form of Balticlab 2.0: Project Development Programme, which launched in Riga on 7th February. The programme continued with interlinked modules in Tallinn, 21-25 March and Warsaw, 1-5 May. Once again the participants were invited to form mixed background groups, in which to develop ideas that would link their personal interests with the idea of improving our region and surroundings. Read more about the resulting projects here: Balticlab 2.0
In addition to the official programme modules, the participants organised independent group meetups in Copenhagen, Hiiumaa (Estonia), Helsinki and Riga.
Some of the project prototypes as well as the overall concept of the Balticlab programme were presented in Turku, Finland, at the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea
Region Annual Forum on 13-14 June 2017, as well as at the Balticlab 2.0 side-event at the annual Swedish political festival Almedalen.
Throughout the programme year, the Balticlab participants were also followed by a production team, resulting in the documentary Balticlab- Connecting Creative Minds, which is available on our Vimeo account.
In its third year, Balticlab expanded its country-scope, adding Norway, Finland and Belarus to its participant list, bringing the total number of participating countries to 9. Spanning across countries, gender and disciplines, the programme continued to support a strong network of talented and active decision-makers, who work together and collectively represent what the region wishes to see itself as: diverse, united and smart. With participants, who also held a connection to the Brazil, Japan, India and the USA, the programme represented a region with a global reach and mindset.
Balticlab 3.0 Networking Weekend
Similar to previous years, Balticlab 3.0 kicked off with a Balticlab Networking Weekend at Skofabriken in Stockholm 11-13 December. The weekend included workshops on pitching, future-forecasting and group-dynamics, as well as lectures from entrepreneurs and cultural actors from the region, as well as open workshops led by the participants themselves. See the full list of participants as well as the programme for more information on the activities.
Balticlab 3.0 Ideation
As in previous years, the Ideation was divided into three project-building modules, taking place in Riga (19-22 March), Warsaw (21-24 May) and Gothenburg (27-30 August). The 30 participants, selected from the Balticlab 3.0 Networking Weekend back in December 2014, were invited to self-select themselves into groups, in which they developed project prototypes with the help of workshop facilities, experts from various fields and inspirational talks. The first module in Riga focused on mapping the interests and talents of the group, as well as forming the 8 project groups in which the participants would work throughout the rest of the programme. The second module in Warsaw focused heavily on group-dynamics as well as developing the various project ideas with the help of group mentors and speakers. With separate group meetings in-between, the 8 project groups were finally ready to showcase their project prototypes they had been working on in the third module in Gothenburg. Read about the project prototypes here.
In its fourth year of programme the Balticlab list of participating countries included Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Poland, as well as Germany through a special collaboration with the Goethe Institute.
Balticlab 4.0 Networking Weekend
As is now tradition, Balticlab gathered in Stockholm in December 2015 with a new group of 70 Balticlab’ers, to meet, greet, discuss and draw up an Innovation Manifesto for the Baltic Sea Region. The weekend included speakers Helen Sildna (Tallinn Music Week), Anja Melander & Johanna Öhlén Meschke (Tankeapoteket), Fernanda Torre, Louisa Vermoere & Paul Cetnarski (Strelka Institute) and workshop leaders Hlin Helga Guðlaugsdóttir, Shawn Westcott and Roger Sjögren (Hyper Island). For the full agenda see the Balticlab 4.0 Networking Weekend programme.
Balticlab 4.0 Ideation
With 41 participants from the Balticlab 4.0 Networking Weekend, in the spring of 2016 Balticlab once again embarked on a 3-module programme to explore interdisciplinary collaboration and how to improve the societies we live in. The interlinked programme modules took place in Vilnius, Kiev and Moscow, with the 40 selected participants forming working teams, in which they developed their collective ideas with the help of mentors and experts. The programme focused specifically on social shifts and societal challenges.
During 4-day module in Vilnius in March 2016, the participants met, formed 6 project groups and started working on ideas linked to regional branding, sustainable lifestyles, artistic expression in everyday life, entrepreneurship education in rural areas, nature, festivals and the concept of home in the 21st century.
The programme continued with the second module in Kiev, 9-12 June, where the project groups continued to develop their project prototypes with the help of experts in the field of prototyping, group dynamics, marketing and social media. The participants also got a chance to get to know the local cultural and entrepreneurial scene in Kiev, through networking activities and open lectures by locals.
The third and final module in Moscow took place on 8-11 September, where in collaboration with the Strelka Institute two public lectures were held, as wells as the final presentations of the projects our 6 groups had been working on throughout the year. Read more about our special programme at the Strelka Summer School here. For more information on the various project prototypes see Balticlab 4.0.
Have a look at the Balticlab homepage for the Balticlab Manifesto on Innovation, more information on the projects, activities and participants at www.balticlab-online.eu
“The future is ours to shape.”
On 16-18 December 2016, Balticlab gathered 140 of its alumni across all programme years together for the Balticlab Surprise Weekend. Former participants from Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Poland met at Tidningshuset in Stockholm to discuss the themes of future, truth and community under the slogan “the future is ours to shape”. The weekend included workshops around the themes of fashion, rhetorics, technology, innovation and business-planning.
This was an opportunity also for the Balticlab group to get to know their peers across the fours years and to have an open discussion on where collaborations such as Balticlab should head in the future and which frameworks are needed to facilitate more collaboration and connections amongst creatives and entrepreneurs in the Baltic Sea Region. See the programme here.
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