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A Year of Redefining Business

2020 forced us to become more visionary and find more agile ways of working amid a humanitarian crisis.

The year started as usual for GCE Ocean Technology. Our calendars were brimming with plans, meetings and events, and we were well on our way with executing them.

30 January, the WHO Director-General declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, WHO's highest level of alarm.

Today, the Norwegian Government comes with the strongest and most intrusive measures we have had in Norway in peacetime. It is absolutely necessary, Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, 12 March 2020.

Society as a whole had to transition into new ways of communicating and reshaping the way we do business due to the global pandemic Covid-19.

Redefining Business

It soon became clear, that we were in it for the long haul and that we would have to readjust and find new ways of carrying out our work.

From our home-offices we digitalised all events, projects and programmes. Re-shaping many of them to addressing the urgent needs of our members; like navigating through funding schemes and how to source capital and attract investors.

Furthermore, we recognised that several of our cluster companies have large variations in workloads over time.

This has been especially visible this year with different time-lags and cycles, thus we invited our cluster to a pilot for a competence hub – a joint digital platform for sharing employees across companies in the cluster.

The idea about this knowledge sharing project is to enable cluster companies to keep their key employees in-house and sharing them with other companies in low-activity periods. One can equally lend employees from other companies in high-activity periods.

We hope this effort will be an effective tool for our cluster in 2021 and onwards.

Many Highlights

There were also highlights throughout the year and one of them were that our consortium was granted SFI- status for Smart Ocean from the Research Council of Norway.

This will be an important joint innovation platform to develop the next generation of ocean technology and enabling us to implement truly autonomous systems in the oceans.

We have also pinpointed new RDI focus areas which will complement our existing focus areas by outlining areas of special interest for larger joint projects for the cluster going forward.

You can read about other highlights at our website, and we have also shared them through our newsletters and in social media.

We hope that you can find the time to read some of them as there are vast number of opportunities for companies to grab in a cluster, if they engage, which more than 3000 participants did this year.

A Stable Cluster

Despite a year where the drop and fluctuations in oil prices has come on top of the pandemic; it is our perception that most of our member companies are coping surprisingly well with the situation for the time being.

Unfortunately a few members have left the cluster due to financial- or other reasons, but we have also welcomed 27 new members during 2020, contributing to making the member base a stable 130+ members.

The Next Normal

2021 is a new year, and a vaccine scheme has been rolled out world-wide, however the current crisis will undoubtably have a profound effect on the industry- both in the short and long term and will create permanent shifts in the industry’s ecosystem.

At the same time it has forced us to become more visionary and redefining our ways of doing business and perhaps reduced bureaucracy and led us to find more agile ways of working and crossing over to new markets.

GCE Ocean Technology’s role in the upcoming year will remain as always to make the cluster more transparent and foster collaboration and innovation inside and outside of the cluster.

We are looking forward to a new year - with several new activities to offer and with a small hope that 2021 will be the year where we will be able to meet face-to-face again.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year from all of us in GCE Ocean Technology.

Contact Information

Owe Hagesæther

Chief Executive Officer

Owe Hagesæther

Further Reading