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2. Methodological considerations

2.1. Data sources

Building on insights from Wendt-Lucas and de Jesus (2023) regarding relevant sectors/verticals in the Nordic-Baltic region, the primary data sources for this report were:
  • the five 5G N-B MT project events that took place in 2023, which drew 17 Nordic-Baltic keynote speakers and gathered more than 150 participants, including business and industrial representatives, regulators, public officials, municipalities, and academics; and
  • a review of recent literature concerning the role of 5G technology in different sectors, which helped contextualize the project events and frame discussions arising from the Nordic-Baltic examples. While the review relied on scientific papers when possible, organizational and industrial practices can, at times, outpace academia in the exploration of new concepts, leading to alternative sources also being used – namely ‘grey literature’, referring to technical contributions not formally published as peer-reviewed papers (Farace and Schöpfel, 2010).
When designing the 5G N-B MT project events, the dual objectives guiding the co-creation process were: 1) enabling data collection on 5G implementation challenges in the area(s) of Nordic-Baltic strength/potential through the examples showcased and insights provided by keynote speakers; and 2) facilitating knowledge-exchange and acting as a catalyst for ‘matchmaking’ between the various actors within the 5G ecosystem.
Throughout, the overarching goal was to discuss key 5G challenges in specific sectors, while strengthening regional cooperation by facilitating peer-to-peer sessions. The strategic design employed aimed to give the events a broader scope beyond just data collection, creating a participatory and dynamic environment that actively encouraged participants to take ownership at various stages of co-creation. This would then allow the participating stakeholders – industrial verticals, operators, regulatory bodies/government agencies, research institutions, etc. – to contribute to and shape the events based on their individual needs and priorities. The approach ensured that the project events were not just passive experiences but promoted active collaboration and meaningful interactions.

2.2. Co-creating the 5G N-B MT project events

The 5G N-B MT project events co-creation process started in 2022. A preliminary selection of topics was identified, drawing on insights from Wendt-Lucas and de Jesus (2023) regarding relevant sectors/verticals in the Nordic-Baltic region (Figure 5). These topics, as well as the format for the project events, were subsequently discussed in collaboration with the 5G Expert Group (Box 1). In order to involve other relevant stakeholders, a pre-registration survey was circulated during the international 5G Techritory forum in November 2022, which each year brings together the Nordic-Baltic region’s broader 5G ecosystem. Forum participants were invited to express their preferences regarding both potential topics and the preferred format for events. Through this inclusive co-creation process, the chosen format for the 5G N-B MT project events evolved into an online webinar series, comprising four interactive on-line sessions, each lasting approximately 1.5–2 hours. The format incorporated an initial segment featuring inspirational stories from keynote speakers, ideally representing examples in the Nordic-Baltic countries, while also showcasing examples from other European countries. The second part of the events would then take place in breakout rooms, enabling collaboration pitches and close network discussions. The events were strategically scheduled throughout 2023, with the first four each focused on a specific 5G topic linked to a corresponding sector/vertical (Table 1). Following this webinar series, a final in-person event took place at the 2023 5G Techritory forum. The event featured a panel discussion centred around different actors’ perspectives on how to overcome 5G challenges and foster collaboration within and between the Nordic-Baltic countries.
Table 1. 5G N-B MT project events details
Focus
Type of event
N-B keynote nationality
Date
More info and presentation(s)
1st 5G N-B MT project event: Healthcare
Online
NO; SE
28/02/2023
2nd 5G N-B MT project event: 5G for Mobility and Transport
Online
FI; LV; SE
20/04/2023
3rd 5G N-B MT project event: 5G for Industrial Applications
Online
EE; NO; SE
16/06/2023
4th 5G N-B MT project event: 5G in Media and Broadcast
Online
DK; FI; SE
20/09/2023
5th 5G N-B MT project event: ‘Overcoming 5G Challenges and Fostering Collabo­ration: Reflections From the Nordic and Baltic Countries’
IRL Panel discussion at the 2023 5G Techritory forum
EE; FI; IS; LV; NO; SE
19/10/2023

2.3. Format, participation and impact of the 5G N-B MT project events

In practice, the events drew keynote speakers from nearly all the Nordic and Baltic countries (Table 1), identified based on topic relevance and speaker availability by the 5G N-B MT project in collaboration with the 5G Expert Group (see Box 1).
Overall, participation for the four first webinars exceeded 150 individuals, more or less evenly distributed across the featured topics (Figure 6). The diverse perspectives provided by stakeholders from industrial verticals, telecommunication companies/network operators, regulatory bodies/government agencies, and research institutions and academia enriched the dialogue. To simplify data analysis, we grouped participants into three broad categories: 1) industry; 2) research; and 3) the public sector. These stakeholders were evenly distributed across all events, demonstrating a balanced presence throughout (Figure 7). The engagement of participants from different sectors and backgrounds not only highlighted each event’s relevance, but contributed to their impact in driving collaborative efforts and advancing understanding within the 5G landscape. Moreover, the broad representation of Nordic-Baltic nationalities underscored their significance to fostering regional cooperation and sharing best practices (Figure 8).
Figure 6. % of participation per topic
Figure 7. Participant sectors represented
Figure 8. Participant country of origin
Stories of successful collaboration have already emerged from these ‘matchmaking’ events (e.g. Matchmaking matters: Nordregio brought together two teams working on 5G for cancer metaverse surgery), with the post-event feedback survey revealing that participants found the events very to extremely relevant (Figure 9).
The survey had a 13% participation rate, and was based on a Likert scale corresponding to: 1 not relevant; 2 somewhat relevant; 3 moderately relevant; 4 very relevant; 5 extremely relevant. The average of the participant ratings was 4.5.
The survey also captured qualitative feedback comments, which highlighted the ‘Great topic selection, Great speakers, Great format’, and reserved specific praise for the breakout rooms. The general sentiment expressed by participants was that the events were well-structured, covering topics of genuine interest. A point highlighted for improvement was the importance of physical meetings in ‘matchmaking’ different partners. Overall, however, the positive feedback affirmed that the events were not only well-received, but successfully met participants’ expectations, offering valuable insights and fostering engaging discussions. These outcomes and positive responses underscore the tangible impact of the events in facilitating connections and knowledge-exchange within the Nordic-Baltic 5G ecosystem.
Figure 9. Impact of 5G N-B MT project events: Average relevance ratings (on a scale between 1 indicating Not Relevant and 5 indicating Extremely Relevant)