Report: Northern Norway Might Become a «Silicon Valley»

Et sommerlig bilde fra Bodø ved Saltstraumen.

Different futures: The report shows four future scenarios for the future of Northern Norway. Here from Bodø. Photo:

Report: Northern Norway Might Become a «Silicon Valley»
Big opportunities for the region.

Researchers from the High North Center at Nord University has written the report in collaboration with Kunnskapsparken Bodø and Dietz Foresight.

The report is named «Nord-Norge 2040: Scenarier for næringslivet» ("Northern Norway 2040: Scenarios for business"), and shows four scenarios for the future of the region.

In the most optimistic vision, Northern Norway has turned into an «Sillicon Valley» in the Arctic and «a stronghold of blue-green growth».

The scenario is called «Det meste er nord» ("the most is North"), and in this future vision Northern Norway has grown into becoming the country's most forward-thinking business region.

Northern Norway has succeeded in converting to processing and high-tech business activities

From the report

Believable future scenarios

The other scenarios are not as optimistic.

In the scenario «Commuter society» a future is described where Northern Norway is in disrepair and where the lack of labor is great.

Most is North: Illustrated by Martin Losvik.

While in the «Petroleum and 'rorbuer'»-scenario, petroleum has seen an upswing. Large parts of the Norwegian oil and gas industry have moved north.

But even in the most optimistic scenario, all is not perfect.

A wilder weather has made several coastal communities difficult to live in. Reindeer grazing areas have been reduced to make it easier to start up new businesses.

Other interests, such as reindeer husbandry and nature conservation, no longer have veto rights in complicated, controversial business policy issues

From the report

Although all the scenarios are radically different, they are all credible futures for the region, according to the report.

The four futures in summary:

  1. In the scenario «Commuting society» a future is described where Northern Norway is in disrepair, and where there is a severe shortage of labour. Disputes over energy projects and competition from other regions and countries have in this scenario led to - among other things, people moving out of the region.
  2. In the «Petroleum and 'rorbuer'» scenario, petroleum has seen an upswing, and large parts of the Norwegian oil and gas industry have moved north.
  3. In «Commodity supplier 2.0», Northern Norway has seen strong growth and increased employment both inland and along the coast as a result of "green colonisation" and raw material exports.
  4. And in the most optimistic outcome, «Most is north», Northern Norway has become a stronghold for economic growth and has become the country's most forward-looking business region.

Rarely acts with a united voice

In the report, it is pointed out that Northern Norway has several strong cards.

For example, the area is becoming increasingly strong in technology, and the geopolitical situation gives the northern areas a key role.

With a combination of renewable energy, sustainable development and high-tech solutions, the report points to how Northern Norway has the potential to attract investment, talent and innovation on a scale the region has never seen before.

At the same time as there are challenges to be addressed:

Northern Norway is a long and fragmented part of the country that rarely acts with a united voice

From the report

Big interest

Andrey Mineev from the High North Center at Nord University has led the work on the report.

– We live in turbulent times, where unforeseen 'Black Swan' events, such as COVID-19 and geopolitical conflicts, challenge our ability to plan and anticipate the future. It requires us to continuously update our way of seeing the world and learn to navigate uncertainty, says Mineev.

The report looks at the growth potential in the north after turbulent years and a changed security situation in Europe. It addresses critical questions facing the region:

Can we secure enough people and the right skills? How can business run in a sustainable way? And how can we be at the forefront of innovation?

Great interest: Mineev says there is great interest in analyzes of this type. – People are concerned about what is happening in the world, and how it can be understood. Photo: Markus Johnsen Thonhaugen.

The aim of the report is not to predict exactly what will happen, but to inspire action and preparation for an uncertain future.

Alta municipality is among those who have all expressed an interest in participating in a strategy workshop, based on this report.

Whether Northern Norway can become a place for high-tech industries, and in this sense the Arctic's answer to "Silicon Valley", will depend on a number of path choices.

We hope and believe that this will be a good starting point for new analyzes and scenario processes, says Mineev.

Read the report here.

Mann som står og jholder en presentasjon foran forsamling. Foto
Have worked on this for two years: The report is the result of a long period of work. Here Mineev is pictured during the Nordlands conference in Bodø. Photo: Sander Halvorsen, Statsforvalteren i Nordland.

Facts about the report

  • «Nord-Norge 2040: Scenarier for næringslivet» is done by the High North Center at Nord University in collaboration with Kunnskapsparken Bodø (KPB) and Dietz Foresight.
  • The starting point has been workshops in Bodø, Alta and Tromsø with participants from all over the country and from various environments - such as business, the municipality and the county council.
  • The participants were tasked with studying four different scenarios. The aim was to take a closer look at the development in the region from a 20-year perspective. The result is a deeper understanding of the dilemmas that Northern Norway has to deal with.
  • The scenarios are part of the work to further develop «Business Index North». The project has received support from Arctic 2030 (via Troms and Finnmark county council in collaboration with Nordland county council) and Sparebank 1 Nord-Norge (Samfunnsløftet).