Peter Much-Madsen speaking at Nordic Circular Space opening in New York 2022

It all comes together in Nordic Innovation

Eventually, the family moved back to Denmark where he grew up. He got his master’s in political science from University of Copenhagen and studied geo-politics in Aix-en-Provence in France.

Global public affairs and business development

Peter worked several years in global public affairs and business development in financial services, pharma and renewable energy. He also lived a few years in Brussels as a head of office at a financial trade association and ran his own consultancy in the EU capital. Long story short, Peter started his position as a Senior Advisor in January 2022 and moved to Oslo in the spring. We sat down with Peter to learn more about his role at Nordic Innovation.

Left: Peter in Helsinki with representatives from NGU. Right: Presenting NI at a Circular Workshop.

From EU to Oslo

After several years working in Brussels and with the EU, how come you wanted to for for Nordic Innovation?
"I noticed the job ad as a Senior Innovation Advisor and got curious about the position. What drew my attention was the Vision 2030 for the Nordic region to become the most sustainable and integrated collaboration in the world by 2030 as declared by the Nordic Prime Ministers. This vision combined with the ambition of Nordic innovation to support the development of the Nordics as a pioneering region for sustainable growth through promotion of entrepreneurship, innovation, and competitiveness among Nordic businesses really convinced me. 

Moreover, I firmly believe the Nordic collaboration is an important platform for delivering and co-creating solutions to global challenges and acute crises that seem to be the new normal. We have different strengths among the Nordic countries just as we have different and common weaknesses. It is still not seamless as a citizen to move from one Nordic country to another, but we have common approaches to fundamental values that are catalyzing our joint collaborations. Acting together, we can set new standards and enable new business for stakeholders at Nordic Innovation."

From day one Peter was linked to the program ‘Circular Business Models’ and he is now also attached to the ‘Sustainable Minerals’ program. He explains; "What I enjoy so much about my position is the combination of politics, business, networks, and scenario forecasting leading to innovative collaborations that will support the realization of the 2030 Vision. All these fields I have worked in over the years, and they all come together in this job."

"All these fields I have worked in over the years, and they all come together in this job."

Peter Munch-Madsen, Senior Innovation Advisor

Circular Business, Nordic cooperation and global competition

Everybody might not me familiar withe the 'Circular Business Models' program. Can you please elaborate?
"Well, the aim of the ‘Circular Business Models’ program is to accelerate the transition from linear to circular business models in the Nordics.

Among other projects, I’ve been involved in circular business workshops in which we deliver education and tools to Nordic businesses and organizations to help them improve their transition from linear to circular business. This we do through training sessions uniting Nordic networks, where we share best and worse practices among and across industrial sectors.
What we already experience is that networks are building up following the first rounds of gatherings. Participants start sharing their daily challenges, strategic ambitions, and solutions with Nordic colleagues as they get to know each other. This is one important way for me and us to improve Nordic collaboration beyond boundaries.

Another area of our attention is to strengthen the Nordic venture capital ecosystem where we focus on education of emerging fund managers and ways to accelerate green, sustainable funds that will lead to many start-ups and minimizing gender gaps in the area. As a region the Nordics clearly needs to step up in the global competition to secure sustainable venture capital, develop Nordic start-ups to grow global and attract the right talents."  

And how is the interest in circular economy?
"The interest in circular economy is really picking up globally. In December 2022 we will attend the World Circular Economy Forum in Rwanda and deliver insights to global agendas. This, we also do through the annual Nordic Circular Summit last year engaging 150 speakers across 32 sessions and 1,800 attendees from 81 countries for discussing trends, challenges, and opportunities in circular economy.
Nordic Circular Hotspot, a network supported by Nordic Innovation, runs the Summit that gains increased interest among businesses and organizations. If no global pandemics stops the show this year’s Summit will be held in Stockholm, 22-24 November."

Peter moderating a panel debate at Bornholm Political Festival, Denmark

New role and previous experiences

When asked what experiences from previous jobs he needs the most in his new position Peter is very clear.
"I guess my business background helps me see what tools and initiatives are nice to have and more importantly which tools are needed to have for Nordic businesses and organizations. We must thoroughly understand the daily needs for tools and projects among our Nordic stakeholders as we are here to make Nordic businesses and organizations innovate, develop, and succeed.

Businesses need to be where markets are or will be on a shorter or longer horizon. The ‘scenario forecasting’ part of job is great inspiration and a crucial part of my position since Nordic Innovation is the enabler of innovation, entrepreneurship, and competitiveness as to make the Vision 2030 come true. When we go into projects and partnerships, we look at the business side, what political challenges are at stake and how we can link local level to global opportunities."

What would you identify as the main international challenge where you think the Nordics can contribute to the solution?

"The climate challenges and the need for a faster transition from fossil fuels to green energy are the keys. The Nordics are globally strong in providing green energy solutions, but we must speed up innovation in the area to stay ahead of global competitors. The current energy crisis with lack of supplies, bottlenecks, and soaring prices also in the Nordic countries underlines that we must not underestimate the importance of winning the race for green energy transition. Another key area is Sustainable Minerals Production where the Nordic region plays an important role given the increasing global demand for scarce resources.
Therefore, we need to lead works on i.e., global labelling systems and add to solving circularity of critical raw materials. By pooling our Nordic strengths and efforts related to energy transition and critical raw materials, just to mention a few examples, we will be steps closer towards reaching the Vision 2030 of creating the most sustainable and integrated region in the world."