Outside INnovation: Jylland gathering 

Soon they’ll all be robots at this rate (photo: Pixabay)
December 21st, 2022 5:59 am| by Patrick Halford 
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Wheels down, Aarhus-bound. I’ll skip the bridge but the Storebælt still needs navigating. I sprint to the boat. 

Dark skies greet the ferry as the cars spill out into the great Jylland city. I’m on moderator duty for a gathering of Danish and German organisations fusing electronics, satellite and drone data with state-of-the-art AI. 

But first food. I hit the Glad Café for some splendid spinat pandekager med ærtedip. 

Where problems cease to be
Refuelled. Back on track. The gathering starts. We’re talking solving serious industrial and agriculture challenges, increasing crop yields and recycling waste water. Easy to type, complex to scale. Unless you have access to thought-leaders and doers, like this crowd. 

To solve the kind of challenges put forward, you need to spin up partnerships from organisations of all shapes and sizes. Scope this room out. We’ve got startups, SMEs and larger corporations. And we’re touching on robotics and drones, so we’ve definitely got the University of Southern Denmark. 

No-one is pushing product around this room. Sharing and learning is the name of the game.

The percolator of progress
We cycle through a whirlwind tour of the latest combinations of tech and partnerships that are rapidly transforming agriculture at scale – by automating fleets and aggregating data across entire industries. 

Then it’s a sharp left into scaling drone deliveries in healthcare.

The ideas pour out, and new possible partnerships begin to percolate. They don’t grow on Powerpoints or spreadsheets. Real partnerships are born out of deep discussion and give and take. By getting out into the field.

Ploughing new partnerships
As the evening begins to draw in, we’re still deep in Danish and German innovation possibilities. I get absorbed by the insights and lose control of the agenda as we blow past the after event drinks item. 

The bottles of wine sit there at the back of the conference room unopened, seemingly oblivious to our ploughing of new partnerships.

Eventually the lights in the building begin to dim and we take the hint. The gathering begins to disperse back to Zealand, Funen and south to Germany. 

Last round in the chamber
The next morning I grab the boat and hit Copenhagen. A pitstop at the British Chamber of Commerce to film an interview with the CEO, Gareth Garvey. Green screen, lights, camera, action, and a discussion on building technology consortia across the EU.

Time is ticking so I bail out of the BCCD and hit Kastrup. Wheels up at 19:15, Helsinki-bound. I’ll be back.

Patrick Halford 


Pat Halford is VP of Digital Industries at Spinverse building EU consortia across electronics, healthtech and smart cities. He’s on advisory boards at Nordic Drone and AR startups, and an advisor at a Nordic space VC. He’s also the author of the new Danish thriller ‘Tilda & Lærke’ and the Icelandic thriller ‘North to Akureyri’. He’s half-Scottish and 100 percent European.