Best Slovenian Innovation

46 examples of Slovenian innovation were presented at the 10th edition of the forum last fall. These examples include products like organic alternatives to plastic materials, new battery technologies, large flexible panels for lightning and new ski technology.

Slovenia often fares quite well in international comparisons and analytical surveys which measure the innovativeness of countries based on quantitative tools. The latest European Commission's innovation scoreboard, for example, again put Slovenia among the »innovation followers« just behind the four European leaders and well ahead of any other ex-socialist country (see also the article on WEF's Human Capital Index in this issue of the e-newsletter). But how do these figures reflect the real-life situation? Do they translate into actual break-through technologies or innovative products?

A narrow selection of Slovenia's best innovations is presented every year at the national Innovation Forum. 46 examples were presented at the 10th edition of the forum last fall. A wide variety of products and services were presented ranging from didactical methods and mobile applications to advanced steelmaking processes. Domel, one of the leading global suppliers of electric vacuum motors, DC and EC motors, developed a new motor for e-bicycles: it is very compact and built into the bicycle's rear hub. Renowned ski boot maker Alpina presented the world’s first ski boots with an integrated heating system. Leading Slovenian goldsmith and gold trading company Zlatarna Celje developed special golden nanoparticles with potential for use in medicine, especially in high-precision diagnostics.

Alpina, Domel and Zlatarna Celje belong to the most established of Slovenian companies. But the new concepts and products shown by small and mid-size companies were perhaps even more exciting. Take the new hemp based granulate presented by the Konopko cooperative. This completely organic, biodegradable and recyclable material presents a viable alternative to plastics with broad usage in various industries from automotive to construction, electronics and packaging. Konopko's hemp bio granulate managed to reach last year's finals in the ClimateLaunchpad contest, the world's largest cleantech business idea competition.

Green technologies continue to be the major focus of Slovenia's inventors. The Innovation Forum presented a number of very different solutions from new battery technologies to smart street lighting systems, technologies to recycle old windows as well as an improved version of solar panels. Linx, a small tech company, developed large, soft, flexible panels fitted with LEDs or other devices. These very thin and extremely flexible panels could be used in energy saving lighting systems or various displays. Aircraft ground support equipment maker Tips unveiled new passenger stairs which are completely energy autonomous.

Last but not least, many new technologies related to skiing were developed in Slovenia, for example the ubiquitous carving skis. The small company Meltum developed so called isocentric skis which allow easier, more comfortable and safer skiing.

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