Nordic Innovation Summit 2019

(May 16, 2019 - May 16, 2019)



THANK YOU for an incredible 2019 Summit. You can view a video of our 2019 highlights here.

Innovation leaders from the Nordic region and Pacific Northwest came together at the second annual Nordic Innovation Summit 2019 to share their insights, build new relationships, explore opportunities for collaboration, and inspire new ways of thinking. 

Building on the successful 2018 event, this year’s Summit focused on a wide range of opportunities that unite our two regions, including blue technology (maritime), green/clean technology, smart cities, educational technology, financial innovation, and the Internet of Things.

The 2019 Summit was a sold-out event, with nearly 300 attendees.

In keeping with the Summit’s goal of inspiring concrete action and partnerships, the event included the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Washington State and Innovation Norway, with the goal of promoting joint research and development in maritime, environmental, fisheries, and other technologies.

Opening speaker Prof. Morten Hansen, author of the WSJ bestseller Great at Work, set the tone for the day with an engaging speech focused on ideas, values and practices that drive innovation and success.

Other featured speakers included Ulf Ewaldsson, SVP for Technology Transformation at T-Mobile; Ketil Solvik-Olsen, Former Minister of Communications for Norway; Hilde Tonne, Chief Innovation Officer at Ramboll; Casper von Koskull, CEO of Nordea Bank; and Prof. Robert Strand of UC Berkeley.  

Panelists represented a “who’s who” of Nordic and Pacific Northwest business, government and civic leaders, including Microsoft, Nordic Semiconductor, Madrona Venture Group, Kongsberg Maritime, and many others.

Government officials in attendance included Norwegian Ambassador Kare Aas and Finnish Consul General Stefan Lindstrom, Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, Washington State Senators Reuven Carlyle and Marko Liias.

Many of the Summit sponsors, speakers and attendees leveraged their time in Seattle and their participation in the Summit to meet with a wide range of business, government and non-profit leaders from the Puget sound region.

Based on the extraordinary success of the 2018 and 2019 events, Nordic Innovation Summit Chair Birger Steen announced plans for a third Summit in 2020, and several sponsors and partners have already stepped forward to participate.

  • 2019 SPEAKERS
  • 2018 SPEAKERS
  • Fredrik Cassel

    General Partner,

  • Kristin Skogen Lund

    Confederation of
    Norwegian Employers

  • Vahé Torossian

    Corporate Vice President,
    Microsoft Western Europe

  • Peter Linder

    Head of 5G Marketing,

  • Dagfinn Høybråten

    Secretary General,
    Nordic Council of Ministers

  • Lasse Karlsen

    Technical Director,
    Norwegian Maritime Authority

  • Karin Olofsdotter

    US Ambassador for Sweden

  • Kåre Aas

    US Ambassador for Norway

  • Kirsti Kauppi

    US Ambassador for Finland



Nordic Museum | 2655 NW Market Street
 Seattle, WA 98107

The new, purpose-built Nordic Museum is the site of the 2019 Nordic Innovation Summit. With “smart” classrooms and tech-interactive exhibits, the Museum represents a blend of Nordic history and Nordic innovation.

In the walkable and environmentally-conscious Ballard Neighborhood, the Nordic Museum is just 6 miles from Downtown Seattle. On-site dining as well as an eclectic blend of neighborhood restaurants and hotels make the Nordic a premier destination.




Eric Nelson, CEO and Executive Director, National Nordic Museum
Birger Steen, Chair, Nordic Innovation Summit
Reuven Carlyle, State Senator, Washington State

8:45AM         KEYNOTE: “Great at Work
Morten T. Hansen, University of California, Berkeley; author WSJ bestseller Great at Work; co-author (with Jim Collins), NYT and WSJ bestseller Great by Choice

Hon. Stefan Lindström, Consul General, Finland

Ulf Ewaldsson, SVP Technology Transformation, T-Mobile

INTERNET OF THINGS PANEL: “The coming Internet of Things is nothing short of a Big Bang – and Nordics are leading the way”
Knut Eirik Gustavsen, EVP US, eSmart Systems
Chris Hansen, R&D Director, Nordic Semiconductor
Hjaiti Thorarinsson, Vice President of Innovation, Marel
Anders Mikkelsen, Director of Business Development, DNV GL
Moderated by Monica Nickelsburg, Civic Editor, GeekWire

10:20AM         COFFEE BREAK

10:40AM         SETTING THE SCENE: “Liveable Earth: A Nordic Perspective”
Amb. Kåre Aas, Norway

Chris Green, Director, Washington State Department of Commerce
Gro Eirin Dyrnes, Regional Director Americas, Innovation Norway

11:00AM          KEYNOTE: "The electrification of transportation, the Nordic way"
Ketil Solvik-Olsen, Fmr. Minister of Communications, Norway

BLUETECH PANEL: “Livable Oceans - the role of technology”
Per Reinhall, Professor, University of Washington, Marine Construction
Lasse Karlsen, Director of Technology, Norwegian Maritime Authority
Josh Berger, Director of Maritime, State of Washington
Oliver Cadet, President, Kongsberg Maritime
Moderated by Amy Scarton, Assistant Secretary, Washington Department of Transportation

12:00PM          KEYNOTE: "The key to world leadership in human happiness"
Hilde Tonne, Chief Innovation Officer, Ramboll

SMART CITIES PANEL: “Cities of the Future – smart, livable, both, or neither?”
Inger Gustafsson, Silicon Valley Office Head, Vinnova
Kristoffer Vik Hansen, CEO, Spare
Christian J. Kofod, Sustainability Manager, Rockwool
Oyvind Birkenes, CEO, Airthings
Moderated by Pamela Tiller, Senior Advisor, Nordic City Solutions

1:00PM         LUNCH

1:50PM         KEYNOTE: "How to build the world's best schools from scratch"
Tuula Rytilä, CVP, Microsoft
Milla Kokko, CEO, HeiSchools

EDUTECH SESSION: "Nordics on a mission: educate the world!”
Torstein Berteig, Senior Vice President, Skooler
Sari Hurme-Mehtälä, Founder & CEO, KideScience
Ulla Koivula, Founder & CEO, ThingLink
Mervi Pänkäläinen, Founder & CEO, Mightifier
Jussi Kajala, Founder & CEO, 3DBear

what can we learn locally from the finns?
Senator Marko Liias, State Senator, Washington State

session address
Bodil Stevns, Vice President, Private Banking, Seattle Bank

2:45PM        KEYNOTE: "Are banks becoming software companies?"
Casper von Koskull, CEO Nordea Bank

FIRESIDE CHAT ON FINANCIAL TECH: “The future of money: when will banking become global?”
Tom Alberg, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Madrona Ventures Group
Casper von Koskull, CEO Nordea Bank
Moderated by Rex Hughes, Co-Founder, Create33 Fintech Innovation Network


3:45PM         FUTURE FORUM: “AI for good: can we make it happen?”
Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, co-founder, AI Sustainability Center in Stockholm
Vahé Torossian, Corporate Vice President for Western Europe, Microsoft
Alf Karlsson, Former Deputy Minister for Housing and Digital, Sweden

4:10PM         keynote: "Sustainable Vikings - Nordic ways of life and work"
Robert Strand, Executive Director of the Center for Responsible Business and Lecturer at the Berkeley Haas School of Business

SUSTAINABLE VIKINGS: “Nordic ways: what can we learn? What should we not?”
Ketil Solvik-Olsen, Former Minister of Communications, Norway
Alf Karlsson, Former Deputy Minister for Housing and Digital, Sweden
Gro Eirin Dyrnes, Chair, Nordic Innovation House
Tuula Rytilä, CVP, Microsoft
Moderated by Robert Strand, Executive Director of the Center for Responsible Business and Lecturer at the Berkeley Haas School of Business

5:00PM        CONCLUDING REMARK: Birger Steen, Chair, Nordic Innovation Summit

5:00-7:00PM NORDIC-NORTHWEST NETWORKING RECEPTION: Nordic-inspired hors d’oeuvres and drinks

Program subject to change

As a special experience, Innovation Summit attendees will have the opportunity to use Oculus Go headsets for a virtual reality Helsinki experience. Thank you to Zoan and volunteers from the Seattle Immersive Technology Association for providing this session.

Sponsors & Partners

  • Nordic Council of Ministers

    The Nordics - a joint branding project by the Nordic Council of Ministers

  • Stellar Holdings

    The Nordics - a joint branding project by the Nordic Council of MinistersBright Ideas. Better Communities.

  • Nordic Council of Ministers

    The Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Council rae the main forums for official Nordic co-operation

  • Seattle Bank

    Boutique bank providing a personalized service and peace of mind to Seattle area families, businesses, entrepreneurs, and community organizations

  • T-Mobile

    America's Un-carrier

  • Hotel Andra

    A Scandinavian styled boutique luxury hotel located in the heart of downtown Seattle

  • Nordic Innovation House

    We give Nordic companies, from startups to corporations, a head start in the most relevant global innovation hubs

  • Norwegian Maritime Authority

    Enabling a greener and safer future for the maritime sector


    Our ambition is to empowering everyone to rise to the development challenges of modern living

  • Stanton Chase

    Excellence in C-level retained Executive Search locally and globally

  • Consulate General of Finland

    Finland - Cooler than you think

  • eSmart Systems

    eSmart Systems' intelligent analytics platform captures, analyzes, visualizes and converts real-time operational data into actionable insights to enable next-generation operational performance

  • Ramboll

    A leading engineering, design and consultancy company working to create sustainable and long-term solutions for our clients, end-users and society at large

  • Manning & Napier

    An investment firm with an independent, opportunisitic style helping investors meet a variety of investment needs in the most challenging environments

  • Nordic Semiconductor

    Specializing in low power and short range wireless that powers the IoT

  • Norwegian Consulate General

    Representing Norway in the Western USA

  • Embassy of Sweden

    Representing the Swedish government in the US

  • Danish Embassy

    Representing Denmark in the United States

  • Inventio

    Make an impact with Inventio – from strategy development to executive customer events

  • World Affairs Council

    Advancing global understanding and engagement

  • Madrona

    A venture capital firm, investing in early stage technology companies predominantly in the Pacific Northwest since 1995

  • GeekWire

    A national technology news site with strong roots in the Seattle region

  • Inform Interiors

    Your design resource in the Pacific Northwest for retail, residential, and commerical projects