Foreign Insight: An Interview with Ambassador of Sweden for Indonesia (Sweden Creative Industry)



(Business Lounge – Special Report)

To Indonesian and the world, Sweden was known for many things. From equality, music, to creative industry, Sweden’s culture and worldview always found its way to inspire worldwide and wide array of generations. Its capital Stockholm was considered one of the best quality of living, and its people were considered one of the happiest in the world, according to Gallup poll.

In Indonesia, Sweden design and cultural products has found its place among the millennial generations. With Sweden Scandinavian design become highly popular among today’s Indonesian designer or start-ups, Swedish watches and furniture always highly-sought in the market, Swedish trance music widely heard by the youngsters, and the fact that every one of us probably had Swedish-engineered “Skype” installed, everyone can see that the Swedish creative culture become a part of Indonesian’s today millennial generation.

Businesslounge interview the ambassador of Sweden of Indonesia, Mrs. Johanna Brismar Skoog to get in depth knowledge on what creative industry looks like in Sweden, the Swedish views on Indonesian creative Industry and what does it feel to be a Swedish, and what Stockholm looks like.

BL: Business Lounge

JB: Johanna Brismar

Part 1 : Sweden Creative Industry

 JB: I think we start to realize about 10, 15 years ago that we had a big creative industry before that, the governments are working a lot with promoting traditional industry you know manufacturing, production, exports raw materials something like that, steel. Big companies. but then suddenly we realizes that we’re actually quite good in creative industry. We had a lot of people working with music, we had a lot of producers, the artists, the writers and everything, and good studios, we had a computer gaming industry, a lot of people working in that making products that very innovative and same thing with a lot of things in the creative industry, architects are very good and so the government said, “well this is cool we like to do something with it, why not to use it to promote Sweden and to promote industry and to double win-win from it ?”

So that was very contrast promotion plan work out but the government to try to go even further with the creative industry. And so now it’s a full individual part in our export promotion strategies.

BL: So this is like a 15 years back?

JB: I say 15 years back, can’t be exactly the numbers but I was say that things start happening 10, 15 years back. Before it had been going on, but it was not much from the government sight to promote it, it was more traditional back then, to put it that way.

I said you know the furniture design is always been there, the interior design, I were talking about the Scandinavian is very well known and it’s been there, but for the newer industries music, computers, film, architectures things like that, it’s newer. It’s newer in the focus of the government.

The former government actually had a promotion plan that was divided up into weeks for we as a embassies around the world would be quite thematic in, you know looking at the different parts of creative industry and giving it a push and our public diplomacy work and on Facebook, on Twitter, I think that’s what we’re doing

BL: So, it’s social media also?

JB: Social media, yeah, very much, we use that a lot too.

BL: And now, what did the government do to make it personally to the makers?

JB: To domestically, there is a authority in Sweden called “The Growth”, growth authority that works. The growth is not a ministry but it’s a public, public thing. Authority. That works with helping, promoting and supporting. Young people usually that want engage, have special talents, have ideas in creative industry. So they taught them in how to give advice, how to set the company, how to do the major relations, how to do the financial planning. You know everything around

BL: Everything is managerial?

JB : yeah, exactly because it’s one thing to have the idea, it’s another thing to bring it to the market.

BL: to manage, to market

JB : yeah, exactly. So that is very helping with that a lot. And they also have discussion with the different branch or sectorial organization, the music industry organization, the gamnig industry organization, the tourism but I don’t include tourism, I don’t include tourism in our discussion. So and to you know to help those industries also develop their statistic data, their support to the members, so it’s quite a thorough program working with it, I think it’s been very, very successful. Alright, you see a more more Swedish, Swedish company is going abroad more, more awareness, what exactly being accomplish in Sweden.

BL: Like the IKEA in here, it’s so big I mean you’ve been there like million times. For the first week that you was there I mean like literally everyone is going there. We can’t find a single parking spot.

JB: But still, it’s like it? No I know, no I think they very, I think I know that I speak to the manager here and they very very happy with raise going in Indonesia. Indonesian public is very, and people here are happy because they don’t have to go to Singapore anymore, you can buy it here. I think the only problem is a import restrictions which I know Indonesian complain about the prices high here, is higher than abroad but it’s because many to add a to accomplish it for the taxes and import duties.

BL: Also I noticed in Indonesia there are some brands that we didn’t know it was from Sweden. For example like Daniel Wellington, even Skype, Spotify,…

JB: Yeah, exactly, absolutely

BL : …what was the jeans that the youngster wear these days…

JB: Cheap Monday?

BL: …Nudie, yeah and Cheap Monday.

JB : So a lot of Swedish you know under the radar companies and what is that computer gaming company that was just sold the one that’s make World of Warcraft, i think, it was Swedish.

BL: I just knew that. Anyway, what I’m about to ask, this small industry this under the radar industry like Daniel Wellington, like Nudie Jeans. I read in the internet that they were, you know, just couple of kids actually with no money whatsoever but…how do Swedish government support these youngsters ?

JB: Sometimes if you have a good business plans you can also get startup loans but you of course you need to find also matching investors you can do with to get it on and on.

BL: How can you get this?

JB: but you can also I think people start working with this investment capital at people that are interesting going into support, no they might be successful businessman and woman on one side but they might like to do this as a hobby, supporting, going with a capital or funding for new industry and also Crowdfunding is increasing so if you have a good idea some people do that too. And I think you can get also start-up loans to start-up your business, if you have incredible idea and plan and you know long-term and you serious about it.

BL: I mean like basically in Indonesia itself, we have many venture capitalist companies, spotting for talents and everything, but in Sweden the venture capitalist has to compete with the government to give offers to the people ?

JB: No, actually the government prefers the venture capitalist to do it, yeah and of course and now we need the tax for its money for many different things. So they can have a you know it’s a good idea, the optimalist balance of funding of course to have both from private and the loan. And the startup loan is a loan so you have to repay it anyway. But that will be the best, and I think for Indonesia there is a, if I was a venture capitalist here I’ll be looking for those industries in Indonesia because I see a lot of talent, I see a lot of ideas, that things popping out all over. And there’s so much interesting to do.

Part 2 : Sweden’s view on Indonesia Creative Industry

JB: I do, I do both for a the companies but also for Indonesia themselves. There’s a lot of new things coming. A lot of cool small stores, a lot of new designers and artists and every time I come to a art exhibition or design exhibition I see new things that are really nice and cool, so it’s great, good things around.

BL: We have like a 250 million people Indonesia so basically we have many potential for this creative industry, in your opinion what are we lacking of?

JB: But I only been here one year, working one year. But I say it is based on my impression, but I would say what that’s help Sweden develop has been, it’s a very non hierarchical society, people are allowed to express their idea, to come out with opinions. It’s not only the boss or the manager, but everyone around that can say ‘Well yes Sir, but I think that this would be good way of doing it’ and they listen and they take it in so this room for more views and more opinions and it doesn’t always need to be so chopped-down down and I think that is actually something that means a lot. People speak their minds doesn’t need to be competitional but it’s speak their minds so you take the idea and you listen and you realize that ‘yeah, okay he’s only 24 but he has a very good ideas, he comes from his perspective I come from my perspective, fine we find out..’ you know take something from there, take something from there or we just take this one because it’s much better for the target audience market that we have, so I think that’s a one of those things. We also have a quite thorough education system, so people have good basic education, good level of English and are very tune up to rest of the world, we’re one of the most internet intense countries in the world, potentially we saw a lot of ideas for people to pick up and they quite in a for fun, new developments, something as a new fashion trend. Internationally, you can see it’s in Stockholm quite early on same thing we’re talking about Spotify, we’re talking about you know that kind of new industry too or Skype, people the computer people are very.

BL: Skype also from Sweden) yeah Skype is also from Sweden, and actually the inventor of the computer mouse was Swedish. Oh, the more you know.

JB: the more you know. But that’s a lot of computer savvy kids around you, hackers basically people that have this business so I think it’s also quite a, and they were early on in that and also have to develop.

BL: Alright, it’s interesting. So it looks like we have to get the faster train right? to keep up with Sweden?

JB: Yeah I think, but I think the new government is looking out education, how can you get better education and speed it, that’s important. I think little bit maybe looking at developing a lot of things at once not focusing too much on only one sector but also bigger because I think it’s been very successful to look, you know this small things that they can grow big and important again yeah Spotify which is I am taking over, I’m hoping for it to come to Indonesia and see it too.

Part 3 : A Swedish’ view on life and the capital Stockholm

BL: So I read in a Gallup Poll that Swedish is ranked number 4 in terms of happiness index, what is the definition of happiness for a Sverige (Swedish) ?

JB: You know I think I am thinking a little bit about this question that you asked. I think it’s not that different from Indonesian or from American or from African. Because I think basically what makes you happy is if you have time to spend with family, friends, having a good meal together, laughing, enjoying, maybe music, or sitting down yeah I think that’s good, we do have a quite good social system which help us, you know you can support your family, you can have a daycare for your children that means you can go to work, we have a quite good vacation, It gives you time to do all that, hopefully. On the other hand, Money it’s not all of what it’s matters is if whether you’re able to enjoy it, no?

BL : Stockholm considered one of the best city in the world in terms of quality of life. What makes the Stockholm one of the best in the world?

JB: I hadn’t read the article so I don’t know exactly what criteria they based the quality of life on but Stockholm is a beautiful city, it’s not too big but it has a lot of things in it and Indonesia standard it’s only two million, I don’t know it’s smaller than Bandung I guess. But we have OLD buildings, new buildings, all culture, new culture, a lot of very very nice restaurants, and the new restaurants popping out all the time. And there’s a the sea is all around it, it’s a city based on an island so it’s called the “Venice of the North” so you have the nature and the city all around and it has one of the highest percentages of parks so you have the green and buildings

BL: You make me really want to go there.

JB : and a very good public transportations system. The only thing is that the new the younger generation is complaining because it’s so hard to find a good and affordable place to live, that’s the challenge right now. We know as soon as they coming in young people are moving there to be part of the a expansion part of the life here. We have to be further and further out because prices in the center of Stockholm are quite high.

Michael Judah Sumbayak adalah pengajar di Vibiz LearningCenter (VbLC) untuk entrepreneurship dan branding. Seorang penggemar jas dan kopi hitam. Follow instagram nya di @michaeljudahsumbek