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“An indispensable collaboration platform”

“CLOSER has been the key to a number of partnerships that would otherwise not have been possible!” The words of Per Wenner, outgoing Director of Accessibility at the Swedish Transport Administration and Board Member of CLOSER since its inception, when describing the programme, his participation, and how the programme came to fruition.
Per Wenner, outgoing Director of Accessibility at the Swedish Transport Administration and Board Member of CLOSER. Photo: Elin Gårdestig, Communicator/web editor/photographer, Swedish Transport Administration

Per is now stepping down from his role on CLOSER’s board to retire, and so we took the opportunity to ask him a few questions.

“In 2009, the need was expressed to find an external collaboration platform that had a Triple helix structure. Previous training centre courses were all held at the academy and there was a major need to find something outside the academy that would benefit the efficiency and development of the transport system. The proposal gave rise to an innovation and knowledge node and now look what we have, CLOSER has been the key to many collaborations that would not otherwise have been possible!” says Per.

"CLOSER has been the key to many collaborations that would not otherwise have been possible!"

He goes on to explain that building up the structure and all the networks was obviously tough in the beginning, but it quickly became a popular collaboration node having a major impact on transport Sweden, both as an organisation but also with events and networking opportunities such as Transport Efficiency Day (TREFF) which is a meeting point for transport Sweden.

“Another great strength of CLOSER is that the business is constantly evolving, and is periodically assessed to ensure it becomes even more efficient,” Per continues.

Why do you think collaboration platforms like CLOSER are important?
“We see that society is becoming more and more complex and individual operators are finding it tougher to work on their own, which means that they need to work together at a system-wide level. Having both experts and problem owners at the same location is vitally important. As a neutral, trusted and knowledgeable platform, CLOSER exists for this very purpose. CLOSER has made important contributions to the Swedish Transport Administration and our assignments, where projects can be quickly and efficiently rigged to include many parties,” Per explains. 

“CLOSER is not simply about the employees and the opportunity to network, it is the entire structure, all the people and organisers that are associated with CLOSER. But above all, the most active operators, those who participate and drive the business forward. CLOSER is also a facilitator and a skills node,” says Per.

Agneta Wargsjö, Strategic Development at the Swedish Transport Administration, will be replacing you on CLOSER’s Board, what advice would you give her for this role?
“With the experience and skills she already possesses, she probably doesn’t need any good advice from me, so I would only say stay engaged, curious and enjoy,” says Per.

Finally, we asked Bo Hallams, Chairman of the Board at CLOSER, about what Per has achieved for CLOSER. 

“Building a collaboration platform requires commitment, presence, curiosity, extensive expertise in the freight transport system and well-founded sound judgement.  Per has all these traits and he has been an example to me and the rest of the board over the years he has been here. He should have his jersey raised on the roof of Lindholmen Science Park!” Bo Hallams concludes.