Living Lab Grythyttan - A Story of Taste

The small Swedish village of Grythyttan in the municipality of Hällefors should most likely have been a non-distinct place sleeping quietly many miles from the rush and life of Stockholm. It used to be a mining town and its population is just around 1200 people, but instead of disappearing into complete obscurity the town has turned into one of the most exciting and entrepreneurial projects in Europe today. Beginning in the seventies Grythyttan has developed an expertise in the field of food and taste and it has been the goal to become one of the leading centres, when it comes to the world of resturanteering and cooking. Covering all aspects of the meal experience this specialisation has been a great success and it has allowed Grythyttan to go even further. Today Grythyttan has become the site of a truly unique university campus, where the students are able to follow such courses as Chef and Culinary Arts and Meal Science. As a part of the larger Örebro University the campus in Grythyttan offers the only education of its kind in the world and there are programmes ranging from bachelor degrees all the way to PhD level. Simultaneously there has been a significant increase in fresh business developments that are related to the new profile of the village. Grythyttan

But the huge success of this educational innovation has posed Grythyttan with some real challenges. The number of students is going to increase from 450 to 750 and housing and communication will have to be more thought through. On a grander scale if Grythyttan is to maintain its position as a leader in its field, the university and the region must be able to collaborate with institutions and businesses from other regions and countries.

Living Labs Global and A Taste of Media have worked closely with the university, the students and the village council to find a way to meet the challenges, and in the fall of 2007 Interlace-Invent launched the mStudent project in Grythyttan. The whole village has gained seamless access to the internet and Interlace-Invent has made communication between students and the university possible on a whole new level. The technology allows students to use a free SMS service and the student organisations are now able to push information to all its users. The university can make announcements to the students on this platform and administration of such things as applications will be swifter, making communication open and easy.

House of Meals

It has been the ambition to make the mStudent Grythyttan a user-driven project, focusing on the needs and interests of the energetic and creative students. In collaboration with the important student organisations Living Labs Global located the areas where communisation between the students could be better and it has resulted in a livelier social climate, where all the extracurricular activities have seen an increasing interest.

By engaging in this dynamic evolution of new mobile technology, Grythyttan has become a part of the network of European cities, universities and innovative firms that are know as Living Labs. These centres of interactive design are interconnected and as a unit they function as a market place between some of most influential cities and regions in Europe today. This means that the free student services in Grythyttan are now not only supported by a professional infrastructure – they also have a common interface with a wide range of universities in the region and across Europe. At the heart of Grythyttan campus stands the impressive House of Tastes, where eager students are seeking excellence in their art. The large building was the Swedish pavilion at the Expo in Sevilla in 1992, and it is only fitting that it gets to represent Sweden once more, as Grythyttan joins the avant-garde of European innovation.