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Teams race to plot innovation

A 72-hour race between two Sino-Swedish teams of eight scientists and entrepreneurs is underway in the Sweden Pavilion to develop energy-related innovations.

The race started on Tuesday and participants were tasked to come up with ready-to-produce solutions from scratch.

The participants had never met each other before entering the locked-up room to start the race. They were invited by the event sponsor, the Swedish Energy Agency, to form teams and were given no design parameters.

"It was difficult to select the members because we needed balance," said agency project manager Christopher Walden. "We wanted an entrepreneur to generate ideas, a critical person to review and analyze, and engineers to evaluate the practical capability of the ideas."

Each team consists of three Swedes and one Chinese - an entrepreneur, a business developer, an academic researcher and an engineer.

They are locked up in a transparent room on the first floor of the Sweden Pavilion to work on the solutions, but they are free to ask for assistance through their networks.

They are also supported by a back office consisting of experts from various fields - market analysts, patent engineers and business developers, among others.

The agency is curious and confident about the results, which will be released at 5pm today at the pavilion.

"It is not just about having ideas, but more about how to realize great ideas and to put innovations into the marketplace," said Kaj Mickos, a Swedish innovator and professor who created the "72 Hour Race to Innovation" concept.

The intellectual property rights to the solutions will belong to participants and the energy agency also hopes to see some patent applications filed this afternoon.

Many Chinese companies have been invited to the final presentation in the hope they will be interested in purchasing the solutions and introducing them to the market.

"We won't have a winner this afternoon, it will be decided in one or two years by the market, the best way to prove the success of innovation," said Tomas Kaberger, Director General of the agency.


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