The launch of the brand new Innolab took place at the Section for Digitalization and Innovation in Rosenkrantz Gate, right by the Bergen Wharf. The Commissioner of the Municipality of Bergen, Dag Inge Ulstein, together with the Head of Business Development in the Municipality, Elin Sjødin Drange, had the honor of officially declaring the lab for open.
– The Municipality of Bergen needs untraditional partnerships. We need different groups of people sitting together, discussing and working with each other. The Municipality should be a startup, and with this lab we are contributing to establishing a new culture and a new mindset, for the benefit of the citizens in Bergen, was one of Ulstein's key messages from the stage.
The Innovation Lab will serve as a hub for ideas within innovation and digitalization in all areas of the municipality. The new center will contribute to the creation of a culture for digitalization and innovation in the Municipality of Bergen, and it will also serve as a collaborative partner for external players with concrete ideas for projects in the Municipality.
Our goal is to share, to unify, and to engage people
Leader of the Innovation Lab, Kjersti Eiken, was thrilled to finally open the lab. In her presentation, she highlighted the importance of sharing competence.
– We are in the business of silo remediation. In this innovation room, we want to share, we want to unify and we want to engage. We want to engage citizens, volunteers, employees, teams and organizations, and also businesses. When we achieve this, people will meet and talk together in a new way, she said.
Internship in the Innolab
The Innolab will host a number of projects in the months to come. Among these is the chatbot 'Tjommi', a solution that was developed in the Media Lab hackathon during the Media City Bergen opening week in November. In the hackathon, students, designers, entrepreneurs and creative minds were challenged to come up with the solutions of tomorrow. Teams could choose between two different challenges: "The Municipality of Bergen 2.0" or "The Bank of the Future".
After a thrilling 24 hour frenzy of brainstorming, workshops and prototyping, it was a team of students from the University of Bergen that came out on top in the Bergen 2.0 challenge. They created a digital assistant called 'Tjommi', that will help people moving to Bergen understand what it means to be a true Bergenser. For their idea, the team won NOK 20.000 and an internship in the new Innolab. The internship commences in the summer, where Audun Klyve Gulbrandsen, Petter Elvevoll and Rune Eikemo will develop the concept further.
– We are really looking forward to having the students here in the summer, and have great expectations for the internship, Kjersti Eiken said.
During a live demo of the chatbot, the audience got a sneak peak of its capabilities, including textual and vocal explanations of quirky expressions from Bergen, as well as information about public transport.
– It is exciting working on a solution that provides real value to newcomers in Bergen, Audun Gulbrandsen said.