Kongsberg Agenda, Norway's largest technology festival, is a vibrant event designed to inspire, engage, and motivate change at the intersection of people and technology. Held annually in the heart of Kongsberg city, this festival transforms the city centre with hundreds of free events, debates, exhibitions, talks, stands, and activities. These aim to explore how smart and sustainable use of technology across various industries can address societal challenges.

As Kongsberg Agenda has grown in size and influence within Norway since its inception three years ago, it has become a crucial event for the city, drawing increased attention and participation each year. This dynamic environment encourages learning and collaboration among diverse groups, breaking down barriers between different industries, areas of expertise, and political divides.

Kongsberg Agenda has become a key platform for national debates on technology and value creation. Next year, we expect even greater participation, with more opportunities to experience innovation and technology, share knowledge, and collaborate on sustainable solutions.

Eirik Lie, President of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.

TeXpo – technology exhibition

As the main sponsor of the event, KONGSBERG had a significant presence at the festival, including a large, prominently visible stand at TeXpo, an outdoor technology exhibition in the city center, where visitors could learn about our innovative technology and products. They also had the chance to speak with our HR representatives to gain insights into the organisation and explore potential career opportunities. Visitors could explore groundbreaking technologies and products from KONGSBERG’s business areas. 

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace showcased a selection of products, including the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS), a world class air defence system, Remote Weapon Stations (RWS), suitable for any mission whether on land or at sea, and the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), a superior operational performance and high survivability against all enemy defence systems, and additionally small satellites to emphasise our space efforts.

At the stand, visitors could also explore the intricacies of the maritime industry with Kongsberg Maritime. They featured a model of the REACH 1, the world's first unmanned surface vessel for offshore use, and the IWS, a construction vessel used for installing offshore wind turbines. Additionally, a model of a boat propeller was displayed, showcasing premier solutions that ensure low fuel consumption, high comfort, and reduced underwater noise levels.

Ensuring quality in the supply chain

An insightful panel discussion led by SINTEF Chief Scientist Daryl Powell brought together experts from TechnipFMC, GKN Aerospace, and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace to explore the essential role of quality in the supply chain. The discussion highlighted that quality is everyone's responsibility, emphasising that ensuring high standards and rigorous processes is essential for high quality [NA1] delivery. Educating suppliers and maintaining clear, consistent communication are crucial to ensure a common understanding and ownership of customer demands.

The panelists stressed that despite rapid advancements in technology, human resources remain central to ensure quality deliveries. This was encapsulated in the main takeaway: "20% technology, 80% people." Building long-term relationships with suppliers, based on mutual trust and continuous learning, was highlighted as beneficial for all parties involved. Early engagement with suppliers was deemed essential, with precise requirement translation and robust support teams facilitating close communication and fostering a sense of ownership, helping suppliers better understand expectations.

While the adoption of new technologies and AI is important, it must be balanced with strict security requirements. The panel emphasised the approach of "slow is smooth, and smooth is fast," underscoring the need for a measured and secure implementation of technological advancements.

In an ever-changing world, these strategies are vital for business success. Quality in the supply chain ensures not just flawless products and services but also efficiency, sustainability, and responsibility throughout the value chain.

Tech & Sustainability on the Agenda

The Kongsberg Agenda's Tech & Sustainability Seminar was a resounding success, bringing together industry leaders, technologists, and sustainability experts to explore the technologies that will drive a sustainable future.

This collaborative event, hosted by prominent industry partners including Kongsberg Innovasjon, GKN Aerospace, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, Kongsberg Maritime, and TechnipFMC, covered a broad spectrum of topics ranging from smart grid optimisation to the role of AI in business processes.

The seminar opened with an inspiring address by Lars Rinnan, who set an ambitious tone, underscoring the crucial role of technological advancements in sustainability. Following this, Stig Schjølset from ZERO discussed the importance of trust in driving technological progress, emphasising that trust is foundational to the adoption and success of new technologies.

One of the presentations standing out was by Anders Lundquist from TechnipFMC, who showcased innovative solutions for long-duration energy storage, highlighting the potential of smart grid optimisation. Dr Christian Lach from Quantafuel captivated the audience with his discussion on the transformative potential of using plastics as fuel, presenting a compelling case for innovative applications in sustainability.

The seminar featured three insightful sessions. The first, "Digitalisation for Sustainability," included a presentation by Daryl Powell from SINTEF, who discussed how lean digitisation can streamline manufacturing processes, enhancing efficiency and sustainability. Bjørn Jalving of Kongsberg Maritime followed with an exploration of the energy transition within the maritime industry, shedding light on the shift towards sustainable energy solutions.

In the second session, "Impacts of New Technology & Digitalisation," Jon Ecklöf from GKN Aerospace Sweden shared his insights on integrating AI into the workforce, illustrating how AI can function as a colleague rather than just a tool. Julie Winther-Larsen from Skytale emphasised the importance of securing communication platforms in our increasingly digital world, highlighting the need for robust cybersecurity measures.

The final session, "Space – An Enabler of Sustainability and Trust," featured Maja-Stina Ekstedt from Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT), who discussed the pivotal role of space technology in sustainable development. Pål Brekke from NORSK ROMSENTER addressed the pressing issue of space debris, outlining the challenges and potential solutions for maintaining the sustainability of outer space.

The seminar underscored the importance of openness, cooperation, and involvement in strengthening trust and enabling advanced technological developments that contribute to sustainable and equitable societies. The success of this event was a testament to the collective efforts of all the speakers, partners, and participants.

Panel discussions

During the Kongsberg Agenda, numerous panel discussions took place on the park stage, offering valuable insights and thoughtful reflections on a variety of themes. Among these, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace hosted three significant sessions.

Increasing geopolitical complexity

One of the panel discussions provided deep insights into current geopolitical and defence-related issues. The panel discussion, led by Ivar Simensen, Vice President Communication at Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, featured experts such as Dr Robert Johnson, Dr Janne Haaland Matlary, and Mr Kenneth Braithwaite. They explored the rising geopolitical complexities affecting democracies and alliances. The panel emphasised the need to safeguard Western values against Russian threats, highlighting how Russia's aggression in Europe threatens not only Ukraine but the entire Western world.

The discussion stressed the importance of specific actions and effective preparedness to counter geopolitical uncertainties, moving beyond mere statements and idealism. The panel underscored the importance of standing together and supporting Ukraine, with strong alliances and collective resolve being essential, as highlighted by the statement, "Armies win wars; navies prevent them." Preparedness at the individual level was also highlighted, with an understanding of one's role in safeguarding democratic values being crucial. The panelists emphasised that together, we are stronger than Russia, with Ukraine’s resilience showcasing the fortitude needed to withstand aggression and reinforcing that an attack on one is an attack on all.

Norwegian preparedness

Another insightful panel discussion, also led by Ivar Simensen, featured Geir Hågen Karlsen, Tore Wettre Andreassen, and Håkon Bruun-Hansen, focusing on Norwegian preparedness. The long-term plan includes a historic increase in defence allocations, totaling 611 billion NOK, which necessitates innovative strategies and effective implementation to enhance defence capacity. Retaining experienced personnel while recruiting new talent is crucial amid a competitive job market, and staying technologically relevant requires streamlining bureaucratic processes.

Collaboration with private industry and allied nations is essential to meet increased demands and enhance capabilities, leveraging these partnerships to address challenges and optimise resources. The panelists expressed satisfaction with the plan, recognising its necessity and importance in countering geopolitical threats, particularly from Russia. The focus on enhancing air defence, notably through NASAMS, is a key component of this strategy.

During a panel discussion on how to become part of the total defence, Eirik Lie, President of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, participated along with Glenn Arnesen, President of IFS, and Even Røed, Member of Parliament for the Labour Party.

"It is crucial to create a defence where technological innovation and industry collaboration are central. By involving private actors and leveraging their expertise, we ensure a robust and future-oriented total defence. Additionally, the entire population must see the value of contributing to national security, whether through military service or civil preparedness."

"It is crucial to create a defence where technological innovation and industry collaboration are central. By involving private actors and leveraging their expertise, we ensure a robust and future-oriented total defence. Additionally, the entire population must see the value of contributing to national security, whether through military service or civil preparedness."

Eirik Lie, President of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.

Crafting success with humour, love, and clarity

Camilla Brevik Hågensen, Director Public Affairs at Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, recently hosted a book talk with Geir Aker, Norway’s famed “lieutenant.” Aker, transitioning from a military career to becoming a public figure, compares leadership to carpentry – a skill refined through practice and experience.

In his book, "Leadership - A Craft," Aker shares insights on leadership, stressing real-life experiences over academic learning. He highlights the roles of rhetoric, humour, compassion, and pedagogy, noting that profound life events shape leaders more than textbooks.

Aker emphasises clarity, humour, and love in leadership. He asserts that humour is crucial but must be balanced and tailored to each leader's style. “Leading without love is misleading,” he says, advocating for genuine care for work and team. He promotes a culture where individuals speak up and resolve conflicts early, stressing shared responsibility and clear communication to avoid frustration.

Setting expectations with love, Aker differentiates between appearing and being authoritarian, and underscores the importance of balancing self-confidence with humility in effective leadership.