3D printing clothes? Sparking conversations on innovation in the Baltic Sea Region

Photo credit: Julie Malmstrøm

At the 7th Strategy Forum of the EUSBSR policy area innovation invited participants to explore the topic of innovation through a 3D printing activity. This is one example which illustrates how digitalization can contribute both to innovation and sustainable economic development in the Baltic Sea Region.

By showcasing the process of 3D printing and various products for industrial assembly lines as well as modern health care and 3D-printed clothing, the activity engaged participants in a discussion on the disruptive power of digitalization. It also pointed to the need for new types of entrepreneurship and the process and speed of SME internationalization often described as industry 4.0

Digitalization, entrepreneurship and SME internationalization are the cross-cutting themes and innovation enablers, as expressed in the Policy Area Innovation Strategy Guide, 2016 – 2020.

Today’s innovation processes all build upon the use and integration of digital technology. Digitalization is here understood as a fundamental process for change in society and business. Particularly, 3D printing demonstrates how digitalization holds the potential for new business models that provide more flexibility to both the entrepreneur and consumer. The technology of 3D printing allows SMEs to transform the manufacturing chain that dominates most industries and experiment more easily and flexible with prototyping and refining their designs.

3D printing also holds great potential for sustainable development. Aside from cutting the emission of transporting goods from traditional suppliers, 3D printing can use sustainable bio-based materials.

European Commissioner Corina Cretu, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Dagfinn Høybråten visits the 3D stand.