Region Sörmland

Not just accessible – but irresistible

Sweden’s job market, its economy, and by extension its competitiveness on a global scale, is dependent on the availability of highly educated people in STEM. Unfortunately, too few young adults are pursuing degrees in those fields. This is a national challenge, but one that needs to be met on a regional level. Together with Gullers Grupp, Region Sörmland decided that to get more young people interested in STEM, it needed to create something brand-new. The result? A regional digiphysical science center.

Kvinna som lutar sitt huvud mot sin hand och tittar in i kameran

Case description

What we did

When employers struggle to find the right competencies within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM for short, it negatively impacts Sweden’s competitiveness and ability to retain a world-leading position in these sectors.

In Region Sörmland, unemployment is higher and education levels lower compared to both neighboring regions and the national average. More young people need to be interested in pursuing a degree and working in STEM. The future is what we make it, and the possibilities are endless. Science and tech are great tools to get people to realize that. The goal is to not only make these fields more accessible – but to make them irresistible.

Work to get young people interested in STEM needs to start early. One way to do that is to create a science center where kids and young adults can focus on learning, in a setting that is both stimulating, joyful, and explorative. There are approximately 3,000 science centers around the world, 19 of which are located in Sweden. Region Sörmland wanted to add to that tally. While every other science center is tied to a physical location, Region Sörmland wanted to focus on gathering the existing initiatives and organizations under one digital roof, to create a new digiphysical science center where learnings and experiences can be shared more easily, for benefit of the entire region. A hub for all the inspiring work that was already being done, and for sharing knowledge, but also serving as a starting point for exciting initiatives aiming to break new ground. A place that enables more kids and young adults to reach their full potential, thereby contributing to the continued advancement of Sweden.

Our mission was in typical Gullers Grupp fashion very tricky: create something that no one has seen before, in a regulatory setting that doesn’t (yet) comply with the idea. This required a multi-faceted team with expert knowledge of a wide range of areas from organizational structures and public financing to insights, branding, core values, content strategy, and digital platforms, just to name a few. Modern tech allows for a digital experience to be built in many different ways and while flexibility can be great strength, we made sure to keep the needs and requirements of our target audience front-and-center, keeping learning at the core of the technical setup we built. A setup that could grow with the initiative, while also preserving the best parts of all the partner organizations, creating a brand-new setting for science and tech in the region. All our work was presented to the regional government for consideration.

We settled on naming the science center “Modda Sörmland”. Modda is Swedish slang for “to modify”, derived and borrowed directly from English. Of course, the name reflects the playful approach to learning at the science center, but also connects to the core mission of the initiative: to help kids and young adults learn, and to encourage them to seize the opportunities they have and take part in shaping their future. Including “Sörmland” in the name connects the science center to the region. Together, the two words can be interpreted as both what the initiative aspires to do, as well as a description of the end-goal: a region that is strengthened through higher education.

Some would say that this project was about learning. However, we would rather define it as enabling experiences and meetings that leave a lasting impression. Experiences and meetings that provide young Sörmland locals with new perspectives, allowing them to dream of a better future – and showing them how a career in science and tech can help them get there.

3kScience centers in the world
19Science centers in Sweden
1Phygital science center in Sörmland