May 16, 2019
THANK YOU for an incredible 2019 Summit.

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.


past 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

Morten T. Hansen

Author and Management Professor at University of California, Berkeley

Casper von Koskull

CEO of Nordea

Ulla Maaria Koivula

CEO and Founder of ThingLink

Hilde Tonne

Chief Innovation Officer, Ramboll Group

Dr. Jussi Kajala

CEO and Co-founder of 3DBear Inc.

Kristoffer Vik Hansen

CEO and Co-founder of Spare

Lasse Karlsen

Technical Director in Norwegian Maritime Authority

Mervi Pänkäläinen

CEO and Founder of Mightifier

Milla Kokko

CEO and Co-founder of HEI Schools

Sari Hurme-Mehtälä

CEO and Co-founder of Kide Science

Oyvind Birkenes

CEO of Airthings

Robert Strand

Executive Director of the Center for Responsible Business and Lecturer at the Berkeley Haas School of Business

Chris Hansen

Director of Nordic Semiconductor’s Internet of Things Labs

Elaine Weidman Grunewald

Co-Founder AI Sustainability Center

Pamela Lynn Tiller

Senior Advisor, Danish Trade Council, Toronto & Program Manager, Nordic City Solutions

Knut Eirik Gustavsen

CVP and President, eSmart Systems, North America

Christian J. Kofod

Sustainability Manager, North America, ROCKWOOL

Ketil Solvik-Olsen

Former Communication Minister, Norway

Ulf Ewaldsson

Senior Vice President, Technology Transformation, T-Mobile

Tom Alberg

Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group

Birger Steen

Chair of Nordic Innovation Summit

Gro Eirin Dyrnes

Regional Director, Innovation Norway, San Francisco & Silicon Valley and Americas

Vahé Torossian

Area Vice President, Microsoft Western Europe Corporate VP, Microsoft Corporation

Kåre R. Aas 

Ambassador of Norway to the United States of America

Tuula Rytila

Corporate Vice President, Microsoft 

Alf Karlsson, LLM

Former Vice Swedish Minister for Housing and Digital Development 

Per Reinhall

CTO of VICIS and Marine Construction Technologies; Professor and Chair of Mechanical Engineering at University of Washington

Dr. Inger Gustafsson

Head of Vinnova Silicon Valley Office, visiting Scholar Wallenberg Research Link Stanford

Senator Marko Liias

Washington State 21st District

Senator Reuven Carlyle

Washington State 36th District

Joshua Berger

Governor's Maritime Sector Lead

Hon. Stefan Lindström

Consul General at the Finnish Consulate General in Los Angeles

Olivier Cadet

President, Kongsberg Maritime, Inc.

Anders Mikkelsen

Director of Business Development, DNV GL Maritime

Monica Nickelsburg

Civic Editor, GeekWire

Torstein Berteig

Senior Vice President of Business Development, Skooler

Amy Scarton

WSDOT Assistant Secretary for Washington State Ferries

Rex Hughes

Co-Founder, Madrona Create33 Fintech Innovation Network

Image Caption


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 
Bright 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


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

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

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


World Affairs Council
Advancing global understanding and engagement

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

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

Closed During Transition!

Join us in May 2018
and be inspired by the values, traditions, art, and spirit of the Nordic peoples.

©2019 Nordic Museum    Seattle Website Design: Bizango    Photo Credits