Indeed, each year the City of Stockholm appoints a jury to sift through hundreds of applications to select the top innovations in six categories: tech, clean tech, creative industries, everyday products, tourism, and life sciences.
A prize of 630,000 SEK is divided among the six winners to help their growth and development - and receive the prestigious Stockholm Innovation Scholarship in a ceremony at Stockholm City Hall during Nobel Week.
The diversity among types and motivations of applicants is impressive. Textile designer’s Malin Bobeck’s contribution, for instance, started out profoundly personal.
“It’s an abstract self-portrait. I was diagnosed with cancer and going through a period of chemotherapy,” Bobeck tells The Local of her project Those Who Affected Me. “And the optical fibres I was working with helped me get through that time and look to the future.”
Bobeck wanted to create an interactive fabric using optical fibres, LED lights, conductive yarn, and touch sensors. Her goal was to show, quite literally, how those around her have affected her life.
“It reflects the impact of my friends and family and all the people around me. They are the reason I still exist on this earth.”
Meanwhile applicant Cheffle brands itself as “the LinkedIn of the hospitality industry”. But what does that mean exactly?
"The hospitality industry in Sweden is yelling for help," says Emil Karlsson, CEO and co-founder. "By creating a single-point-of-contact platform for the industry to meet, Cheffle is the first professional social network which focus only on this niche market, with an aim to improve today's recruitment process and professionalize the industry."
Cheffle is essentially a website where workers within the tourism, hotel and restaurant sector can upload their CVs and look for jobs, but it's also a network and natural meeting place.
In the health sector one entry is Capitainer, an idea that came up in a collaboration between Roxhed, an associate professor at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), and Professor Olof Beck at the Karolinska University Hospital in nearby Huddinge.
"Our company Capitainer aims to market a new micro blood collection device that allows patients to leave a high quality blood sample from home," says co-founder Niclas Roxhed.
"Being part of the selected teams for Stockholm’s Innovation Scholarship feels very exciting. It makes me happy to see that Stockholm places itself as a major innovation arena alongside the greatest innovation cities in the world."
Another entry, still in the idea phase, is Didero, a digital learning solution.
“Everyone should be able to get the study help they need, without social status making a difference,” says Simon Norrman, one of the co-founders.
Didero aims to make study aid easier and more affordable for students and teaching aides alike.
“We see that study aid today is part of social economic backgrounds, and it shouldn’t be. Many companies have huge expenses in terms of administration, and only about half of the money goes into the teachers’ pockets,” Douglas Kressner, the other co-founder, explains. “We can take away those administration costs, thus lowering costs for students and still giving teachers more.”
Who will be the winners this year? No one knows...but regardless of who takes home the trophy, the jury has narrowed it down to 18 remarkable innovations you should know about. Here they are – in no particular order.
1. Those Who Affected Me: an interactive, light emitting textile installation that invites the audience to touch it and change its appearance.
2. Cheffle: the LinkedIn of the hospitality industry.
3. Capitainer: marketing an innovative blood sampling device enabling easy and convenient blood sampling from home.
4. Didero: a digital solution for making study aid easier and more affordable.
5. Viking Line Boat transfer: a small adjustment of M/S Emelie’s route creates a direct link between Viking Line and Djurgården.
6. My Global City: a platform that gives you access to authentic experiences in your city.
7. Shortly: a revolution for short film makers and their audiences.
8. Laserorgel: visual music experience meets automatized laser magic.
9. Backrefresh seating system: a chair that relieves the back-pillar vertebrae while sitting in a chair. The Backrefresh seat system relives back pain and prevents herniation.
10. Dialingo: an app that solves the Swedish interpretation shortage in health care. It provides instant phone interpretation for the 21st century.
11. Grönska: wants to make the city self-sufficient so that the planet has a chance to recover.
12. Brandskyddsmedel: cost-effective environmentally friendly fire retardant for the protection of future housing.
13. Waterarteries: clean affordable water for everyone.
14. FineCell: provides a cheap and simple process to produce renewable nanomaterials for versatile applications from the forest.
15. Insurello: proactively educates people about their insurances and manages as well as maximizes their claims through a simple digital solution.
16. TechBuddy: a digital platform for tech support based on sharing economy model.
17. Horizon: revolutionizing drone design with endless opportunities for users, for the benefit of human kind.
18. Mediating objects: a tactile material aiming to help children to find their own words in therapy.