Connecting people-centred innovation for healthy ageing across the Nordics, Baltics, and UK


I’m Anja, a Senior Innovation Associate at NICA. I work with companies, researchers, citizens, and public bodies to develop insights and test ideas that help people to age well.

Living longer is a global phenomenon, but there are still inequalities in healthy life expectancy both within and between countries, influenced by factors such as lifestyle and environment. Across the world, there are many experiences and approaches to learn from to help us develop a better understanding of people’s capabilities, needs and aspirations, and where innovation can help.

One example of how we are leading cross-national discussions on healthy ageing is a workshop that we facilitated with Nordic, Baltic, and UK organisations in October 2019. This was on behalf of the UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Department for International Trade and we collaborated with the FCO’s Science and Innovation Network. The workshop took place in Copenhagen and we brought together over 30 organisations to share ideas and practice on working across our nations, sectors, and disciplines.

We delivered an interactive workshop over two days exploring issues such as how to develop and adapt industries for an ageing population, ways to harness mental capital and improve wellbeing throughout the life course, and how to tap into the wealth creation opportunities of an ageing population while reducing inequalities in healthy life expectancy.

An important contribution was the sharing of ideas on social innovation to address societal challenges, learning from innovation testbeds such as Finland’s Oulu WelfareLab and Lithuanian University of Health Science’s innovation ‘playground’, that work closely with people and communities.

This was an incredibly valuable collaboration with Nordic, Baltic and UK partners to build cross-national insights and networks for innovation and trade activity. This has led to further international collaborations and projects in the coming months, working with citizens through our VOICE network.