SPOK from Sweden

SPOK from Sweden

Photo by Marcus Brumström, courtesy of SPOK

 

SPOK (Contemporary Production and Consumption) is a cross-sectoral initiative that originated from the designer Jenny Nordberg. SPOK works as a bridge between the cultural/creative sector and the trade/industry sector, facilitating collaborations between designers, architects, interior designers and others to find manufacturing opportunities locally in Sweden. 

 

The Idea for the Initiative came from an urge for creative professionals to regain control of crucial aspects of the creative process and stimulate sustainability. Designers have been adversely affected by increasing globalisation with big producers controlling the value chain and often siting the manufacture of products where labour is cheaper. The small royalties received for creative work also stimulated this project. 

 

Key Goals…

To invigorate local production and lead to more sustainable consumption in the long-termTo improve the returns for creative work.  

 

Innovation and Inspirational Know-How….

SPOK is unique in that it works primarily via a digital platform connecting CCI professionals with local manufacturers. The freshly upgraded digital platform offers step-by-step guidance on how to formulate the request for a partnership with the right local workshop/factory and how to select the right profile from the database. It features a glossary of terms that has been built-up over time.

The backend of the platform is digitally tracking the choices and behaviour of users so that the Form/Design Centre can quickly analyse what provision works and if connections are being established. 

There is a dual form of brokering that allows for local networks to emerge and transform into creative ecosystems.

 

SPOK from Sweden

Photo by Anna Gudmundsdottir, courtesy of SPOK

 

Challenges…

The first barrier for a cross-sectoral project is to obtain initial funding for something which is new and therefore no proven track record to show to date. 

Establishing a common vision/language across several sectors on what could be achieved and developed also takes time. 

Working with diverse actors: setting up a non-profit “business plan” which involves governmental organs and public sector as a main “client” with an innovative model with no prior examples to go by. 

 

Meeting the Challenges

The actual collaborations are independently funded by the creative professionals via existing funding schemes.

Working always in a transparent and clear manner so that the concept be seen in practice and therefore is easier to comprehend. 

 

Impacts…

Digital networking is effective, combining physical interaction based on know-how sharing services that are the trademark of the Form/Design Centre. One involved a study trip that served to familiarise designers/creatives with the local scene of manufacturers. 

Each cross-sectoral collaboration has the unspoken, shared understanding that connects two visions. This has led to 30 unique products being manufactured locally in the past 24 months. 

One example of a thematic seminar to build cross-sectoral collaboration was on ‘public procurement’ which most artists and designers are not familiar with. The core of those events is in turn transformed into digital content so that it could enrich the SPOK community online. 

Another initiative linked to SPOK is the Nordic sustainability project SUSTAINORDIC. It produced the third edition in November 2020. 

 

And going forward… 

In 2019 SPOK was granted support by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth to expand the initiative across the whole of Sweden and embed government’s actions to increase domestic manufacturing and development of industry. 

Over the coming four years the platform will grow with the aim to involve 11 regional centres and enlarge its stakeholder base by including the National Crafts Network, more academic institutions and cultural organisations. 

This is only part of a ten-year plan. 

 

SPOK from Sweden

Photo by Marcus Brumström, courtesy of SPOK

 

Further information

https://s-p-o-k.se/en

Jenny Nordberg  

The Nordic Report

Anna Gudmundsdottir

Industrial Designer

Project Leader of SPOK

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