On 13-14th of June, 2019, the biggest innovation event in the Baltic countries Vilnius Innovation Forum “Innovation Drift 2019” took place in the Lithuanian Exhibition and Congress Center Litexpo. For two days over 2,000 participants, 50 world-famous innovators, experts, innovation policy makers and practitioners gathered to get inspiration, share knowledge and get useful contacts in a strategic event.

The Vilnius Innovation Forum has attracted some of the most prominent speakers and creators from global companies such as Tesla, NASA, SpaceX, Microsoft, Google, Porche, IBM, Euronews, Siemens Mobility, European Space Agency and others. The most influential forum speakers from Europe, Asia and the USA shared their thoughts and insights, how the world look like into the next 10 years, what are the future innovation trends.

“During the two-day forum Vilnius turned into the capital of future innovation, a venue of leaders from 20 countries around the world. I am glad that the forum creates practical value for speakers and participants, because a large attention was paid on networking. Furthermore, the Forum gives a clear message about Lithuania as innovative country on the international scale”, said Kęstutis Šetkus, director of Lithuanian Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology Agency (MITA), the main organizer of “Innovation Drift 2019”.

The most prominent Lithuanian inventions and innovations were presented by the national universities, research centers and enterprises in the technology exhibition: talking robots, holograms, health care technologies, food innovations, smart virtual reality solutions for entertainment, aviation and other industries. Also, the networking event, creative workshops and B2B meetings were opened for all attendees.

Huge opportunities for space exploration

The forum focused on the development of space technologies: Bernhard Hufenbach, a representative from European Space Agency, spoke about the possibilities for companies to participate in ESA initiatives. NASA trainees Julija Kravchenko, Gintare Plečkaitytė and Vladas Labanauskas encouraged Lithuanian students to participate in the prestigious NASA internship program, which is coordinated by MITA on national level.

Progress in the transport sector

Peter Bardenfelth-Hansen, who has 10 years of experience as working EMEA business development director in TESLA company, one of the most innovative electric cars and renewable energy producers in the world, shared his insights on the progress of the transport sector in the nearest future. “The world is changing fast, not only changing the need for mobility, but also focusing on sustainability. The car will no longer belong to a single owner - we will talk about sharing the same vehicle when it can be used by several owners, and maybe there will be no owners at all and this will be a shared car ”, - said Mr Bardenfelth-Hansen. He recommends to the Baltic States to think about the development of more effective infrastructure for electric vehicles.

AI application: from media to medicine

Michael Peters, Managing Director of EURONEWS, one of the largest broadcasters in Europe, talked about the need for personal news. Nowadays, when the flow of information is infinite, there is a need to focus on one area and get more focused news. "Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already being used to offer each user a dedicated news feed. AI analyzes the consumer's behavior on the website and offers daily tailored news that focuses on the most relevant area for the consumer - whether it is business, sport or culture,“ - said Mr Peters.

On the digitalization threshold

Professor Henrik Scharfe, who created his twin robot, discussed in the report that we currently are at the crossroads of important digital changes. The data-driven economy will change people's thinking, way of life, work and leisure, and for these changes we need to be prepared now.

The value of collaboration

„Innovation Drift 2019“ has provided an exceptional opportunity to establish direct contacts. More than 60 of our country's economic diplomats in 41 countries and 3 international organizations visited the Vilnius Innovation Forum, where they met with companies interested in export opportunities. More than 40 B2B meetings with diplomats, innovation experts, investors were organized, also the bilateral meetings between representatives of the Lithuanian and Latvian Ministries of Economy took place, in the innovation and technology workshop the practical advices were provided to participants.

The fourth innovation forum „Innovation Drift 2019“ was organized by the Lithuanian Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA) together with the Ministry of Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania. The event is financed by the European Regional Development Fund.