NIR Programme

Innovation for Sustainable Development

Innovation is key for economic growth and social development

Social and economic welfare through innovation

New technologies and innovation, together with cross-sector partnerships, have the potential to fundamentally alter the cost of achieving progress. Innovation is a prerequisite for economic growth and social development. It strengthens a country’s competitiveness and productivity, thereby promoting decent jobs, increased wage levels, higher profits and thus increased tax revenues.

Therefore, innovation has a major impact on both the pace and the direction of the development in a country and is fundamental to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


The Innovation for Sustainable Development programme, launched in 2020, explores how experiences from Sweden can be translated into an OECD/DAC context by introducing the triple helix model of innovation. By stimulating interactions between academia, industry and the national government, the programme supports the local development of a national innovation system.

The programme has several levels; from a central level of learnings and actions to influence the design of the national innovation system, focusing on how to raise the culture of innovation on a policy and strategic level, to operational levels. University partnerships is one example, where the objective is that universities develops adapted own innovation models and management. This includes for example strategy processes, the creation of science parks, triple-helix collaborations, incubators, promotion of entrepreneurship, fund raising activities, strategies on how to translate academic research into innovation, business competitiveness and more. The programme is funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

Supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Innovation is critical to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. New technologies and approaches, as well as cross-sector partnerships, have the potential to fundamentally alter the cost of achieving progress.

Additional information

For more information, please contact Programme Director Maria Rindeskär, telephone number +46 8 783 82 93.



lack of enabling environment for social dialogue at the workplace level, despite the provision of legislative acts that protect and promote workplace cooperation is a reoccuring issue  in Kenya. To implement good policy there must be a fertil ground.

Therefore SWP developed the UP!  project. Together with Swedish companies as an entry point, and with unions i South africa and Kenya. 

In Kenya SWP created the SWP UP! Programme targeting skills development of the union Shop Stewards from 18 companies in the Automotive sector in Kenya during 2021. As a result, the Stewards were able to use their skills to build trust and cooperation with management in new ways to avoid conflicts. 

A second cohort of training, in close cooperation with union AUKMW, takes place in 2022.

The training allows shop stewards to step out of their daily routines and understand their role and the purpose of their union, understand the labour market context, the laws that regulate relationships and the business itself. But on a human level, many shop stewards also highlighted that they feel respected as human beings, and that they have developed the skills to engage with supervisors and management and experience respect in professional relations. The experiences had deeply impressed them and helped to project the vision of dialogue and mutual respect and their own potential as a means to change workplaces.

The intervention of the SWP programme had a direct effect at the workplaces, where shop stewards listed several cases where they had managed to intervene and secure results in dialogue with management, avert crises or find solutions based on opportunities and the communication skills obtained during the SWP training. For the Amalgamated Metal Workers Unions in Kenya, the shop stewards pointed to how the training had enabled them to design their own strategies at the workplace in relation to supervisors and staff, and to achieve many concrete results.

Based on this shop steward upskilling, I feel confident that as a union we now have change ambassadors that will grow the industry, protect, and promote decent work principles for both the employer and the employees represented. And that disputes will be dealt with at the workplace level by though consultative dialogue.

Rose Omamo

General Secretary
Amalgamated Union of Kenya Metal Workers