Sweden’s Minister for Information Technology, Mr Mehmet Kaplan, inaugurated the new Gunilla Bradley Centre for Digital Business in January 2016.
Dr Darek Haftor, professor at Linnaeus University and the first Director of the new Gunilla Bradley Centre explains why the centre is much needed:
– Our societies and their organisations are witnessing an unparalleled adoption of new digital technologies as a means to enable their operations; and this trend is most likely to continue. Indeed, studies show that the use of digital technologies may give rise to economic value creation in a manner that has not been witnessed before. Some organisations succeed better in their adoption of new digital technologies (e g Soptify, Skype) while other organisations fail (e g Kodak, Blockbuster). At the same time, our current knowledge is much limited when it comes to the understanding of how economic value is created from the use of digital technologies as most of such knowledge was developed in the post World War II period, prior to the current radical development and adoption of digital technologies. Therefore, there is an urgent need to mobilise and form large scale and permanent research efforts that address the core question: how is economic value created from the use of digital technologies?
– The Gunilla Bradley Centre for Digital Business brings together researchers from various disciplines aimed to produce novel understanding of the new reality out there: digital businesses. The Centre is named after Dr Gunilla Bradley, professor emerita at the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. Gunilla was born in Småland where Linnaeus University operates, and was a world pioneer with her research that already in 1970's focused on how digital technologies influence workplaces. This sprit of pioneering research on the use of digital technologies guides the centre researchers.
Two open seminars
The Gunilla Bradley Centre was inaugurated with two open seminars, one in Växjö and one in Kalmar, on January 21st and 22nd 2016. These were composed of several talks starting with Dr Darek Haftor, professor at Linnaeus University and the first Director of the centre. His talk gave the motivation for why yet another research centre is needed in Sweden. Then Dr Anita Mirijamdotter, professor at Linnaeus University, introduced and summarised the pioneering research profile of Dr Gunilla Bradley, professor emerita at the Royal Institute of Technology, whose name is assumed by the new Centre.
Thereafter, Dr Bradley gave a short lecture on her view of the digitalisation of societies, as based on her lifelong research and her so-called "convergence model". Following that, Dr Rana Mostaghel and Dr Pejvak Oghazi, researchers at Linnaeus University, gave a short overview of current research projects conducted by researchers at the centre.
The inauguration seminars also featured much appreciated talks by two industry representatives. Mr Daniel de Sousa, CEO of Visma Spcs, presented his view on the future challenges of digital business while Mr Puria Sanae, Head of Flickr at Yahoo, came from Silicon Valley to present the process of digital business innovation as pursued at Yahoo. Dr Peter Aronsson, Professor and Pro-Rector at Linnaeus University, gave an important talk that detailed why transdisciplinary research centres are needed at a university and the centre's key function to link the university with realities outside it.
Finally, Mr Mehmet Kaplan, Sweden's Minister for Information Technology, travelled from Stockholm to Kalmar to inaugurate the Gunilla Bradley Centre and gave a much engaged speech that addressed the major role of digital technologies for Sweden's development as a society and the need for such research efforts as represented by the Gunilla Bradley Centre for Digital Business.
The only one of its kind in Sweden
The new Gunilla Bradley Centre for Digital Business seems to be the only kind of a permanent and large scale research centre in Sweden that addresses the core question of how economic value is created from the use of digital technologies. Indeed, there are many research groups in Sweden that focus on various aspects of digital technologies, such as its hardware, its software, its data and the technology's use in terms of legal, psychological, social, moral and even biological aspects. Yet our scanning has not found any permanent research group that focuses on how economic value is created from the use of digital technologies – this is the task for the Gunilla Bradley Centre for Digital Business.