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- Look to other sectors for new ideas!

Nofima, the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, founded in 2008, but with a history dating back to 1931. A combination of state ownership by 56,8 percents and by private-public interests, representing 43,2 percents. Photo: Nofima

Nofima, the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, founded in 2008, but with a history dating back to 1931. A combination of state ownership by 56,8 percents and by private-public interests, representing 43,2 percents. Photo: Nofima

Q&A - Øyvind Fylling-Jensen

Blue Frontier Magazine: What is the purpose of Nofima?
Øyvind Fylling-Jensen: - We initiate and engage in research, development and innovation in partnership with the Norwegian food, fisheries and aquaculture industries with a focus on industrial value creation along the value chain.

Øyvind Fylling-Jensen, CEO, Nofima.

Øyvind Fylling-Jensen, CEO, Nofima.

BFM: How do you define innovation?
ØFJ: - Generally, it is about creating new and sustainable growth over time, through businesses from start-up to maturity and again innovate for new growth. The innovation drivers are technology, market and demand in combination with price and costs. Innovation requires both R&D and practical knowledge and approach. Nofima’s focus is on research based practical solutions for innovation.

BFM: Mention some special innovation drivers for the marine sector?
ØFJ: - There are many factors, from profitability, consumer trends, value chain power shifts, procurement directives, technology shifts to legislation and NGOs. When it comes to the first point, profitability, you have to be aware of new entrants to the marked, new products, new packaging, new channels, new processes and new technology. Innovation takes place along the whole seafood value chain.

BFM: Examples of innovation in our traditional seafood industry?
ØFJ: - The numbers tell the story. From 1950 to 2009 the number of fishermen decreased from around 100 000 to under 15 000, and the number of fishing vessels where reduced form more than 30 000 to around 10 000. In the same period, the total catch almost doubled to more than 2 500 million tonnes. In the future, further innovation is required to remain and improve sustainable fisheries and quality of seafood.

BFM: Where do you see the biggest innovation opportunities in marine innovation?
ØFJ: - Our analysis of the sector shows that innovation has best opportunities in following four areas: Process, product, distribution and finance. The industry is characterized by a fragmented value chain, small and medium sized enterprises with low capability and spending on research and development. It is high focus on product innovation, but nine out of ten introductions fail in the market. In addition, the use of materials previous considered as waste, better named as rest raw materials, renders a great opportunity of future innovation and value creation.

BFM: Is open innovation applicable in the seafood sector?
ØFJ: - It is an important tool in the fragmented seafood industry, and innovative cooperation should be applied in areas where competition is of lesser importance. Coopetion is very important in challenges in facing the industry as a whole, i.e. feed, environmental issues, sea lice or escapees. The effect would be a reduction of risk, reduced costs of innovation, increased innovation speed, improved success rate, broader access to ideas and competence sharing.

BFM: What is the challenge for the seafood sector in terms of innovation?
ØFJ: - The sector has to move from the traditional development model, where the selected projects are developed in own companies, to a model where different strategies lead to increase value creation. The industry has to look to other sectors innovative ideas, i.e. in marketing and use of new technologies.

BFM: Nofima has the last years been challenged by financial turbulence and staff reduction. What impact has this had on the company’s activity?
ØFJ: - The financial stress has led to a more focused organization with a better utilisation of internal resources and increased focus and awareness on our mission of creation values for our customers.

BFM: What is Nofima’s priorities nationally and internationally for the coming years?
ØFJ: - Nofima has pinpointed four strategic pillars; related to sustainable food production, food safety, security and health, as well as raw material quality and fish feed development, and last but not least process, product and service innovation.