DAIR Awards 2023 Summary: Recognizing Excellence and Celebrating Collaboration and Commitment to Data and AI

Let’s reflect on the remarkable celebration of data and AI innovation we experienced at the 2023 Data, Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence event during the Nordic Data and AI Readiness (DAIR) Awards! Join us for a summary of this year’s categories, nominees, and winners, as we also look back on the incredible atmosphere at the gala award ceremony.

The DAIR Awards is a celebration of excellence in harnessing the power of data and artificial intelligence. Recognizing industry leaders, experts, teams, and organizations for pioneering the future of society and business, it honors their contributions to data-driven insights and AI-driven solutions. This effort is shaping a transformative path forward.

On December 5th, the DAIR Awards Ceremony, held at Vasateatern in Stockholm, provided a remarkable platform, celebrating individuals and organizations that have significantly advanced the fields of data, analytics, and AI. This prestigious event welcomed 130 of the top practitioners in these fields, including this year’s nominees and past DAIR award winners from the Nordics, while a substantial audience joined through a live online broadcast. The DAIR Awards Ceremony is not just an event but an annual tradition that highlights and honors achievements across multiple categories. It stands as a testament to commitment in areas like innovation, diversity, inclusion, knowledge-sharing, and the motivation of future generations.

Photo by Hyperight AB® / All rights reserved.

Unveiling the Nordic DAIR Awards: Individual and Organization Categories

The public Awards are divided into individual and organization categories. Each category is open to any individual or organization working or operating in the Nordics to nominate or apply.

Among the nominees were leaders, experts, and practitioners from academia, the private sector, and the public sector. All of them were more than worthy to take the award home. Moreover, this event served as a platform for the present data and AI community to network and explore opportunities for cross-sector collaborations that can be celebrated in the future as well.

The event was hosted by industry experts, including Errol Koolmeister, Founder of The AI Framework, and Dácil Hernández, Director of Data and AI practices at Nagarro. They were joined by Goran Cvetanovski, Founder and CEO of Hyperight AB, and Saranda Arifi, Editorial Director at Hyperight.

Photo by Hyperight AB® / All rights reserved.

Opening Remarks

In his opening remarks, Goran Cvetanovski couldn’t help but marvel at the remarkable progress made in AI. ”This year was transformative; AI is no longer a fringe subject but a phenomenon impacting daily business and societal operations. The progress is exhilarating, yet it brings challenges in data quality, AI governance, and life cycle management, requiring us to navigate these waters with expertise.”

Yet, what stands out is the collaborative spirit that this field demands. Businesses cannot progress in silos anymore. The future of AI and data relies on collective efforts and understanding across cross-disciplinary domains. We need to be better at this and learn to collaborate and speak to each other. He then highlighted the imminent challenges we face, like AI and Data cost optimization and the necessity for AI literacy across all levels of leadership. These elements are crucial as they shape the framework of operation and innovation.

“Everything has changed. And yet, at the same time, nothing has changed.” said Errol Koolmeister, kicking off the ceremony. He underscored the significance of reflecting on the past, urging attendees not to overlook it, as the future has already arrived.  Furthermore, Dácil Hernández stated that, this year, more and more companies venture into new initiatives, facing both successes and failures. Despite the challenges, they demonstrate resilience by persisting in their pursuit of innovation. ”There is a switch between the old ways of doing things where everyone claimed expertise, to a more humble culture, willing to share knowledge and collaborate.” stated Dácil.

Photo by Hyperight AB® / All rights reserved.

Individual Categories

Garima Singh, Chief Architect and Head of Enterprise Architecture at Sandvik Group, received the Data Management Professional of the Year Award. She expressed gratitude to those who have supported her and said ”I’ve always had support during my frustrating moments, particularly when the predominant focus in my professional environment shifted towards AI, overshadowing the importance of data.”

Linda Rothan-Cederberg, Head of Operations Data & Analytics at Electrolux was awarded the Analytics Professional of the Year. ”This isn’t just my work, it’s also about my colleagues and team at Electrolux that always stand by me in everything we do.” said Linda.

The Data Science Professional of the Year Award honored Lotte Thomsen, Lead Data Scientist at Grundfos. She expressed gratitude to those who supported her in achieving this award and aided her in grasping domain knowledge, and the leadership that guided her projects.

The Machine Learning Professional of the Year Award was granted to Fredrik Olsson, Head of Data Science & Product Strategist at Gavagai. In his winning speech, Fredrik expressed gratitude to those who have been his pillars of support, guiding him through the complexities of navigating the challenges in the realm of machine learning.

The Artificial Intelligence Professional of the Year Award honored Peter Vester, Lead Data Scientist at Novo Nordisk. Peter stated ”It has been a dynamic year since ChatGPT got released. I am honored for the recognition of the work that we’ve been doing at Novo Nordisk, leveraging these models to demonstrate tangible business value.”

Micha Ben Achim Kunze, Lead Data Engineer at Maersk, received the Data Engineering Professional of the Year Award. Micha Ben extended appreciation for the acknowledgment of both his individual contributions and collective efforts of his team in the field of data engineering.

Søren Christian Søndergaard Poulsen, Tech Director at ATP, received the Data and AI Transformation Professional of the Year Award. Søren stated in his winning speech, “The only reason we cannot fly as high as we want to with technology is that we believe that our current knowledge is all there is.”

The AI Ethics Professional of the Year Award was presented to Meeri Haataja, CEO & Founder at Saidot. She emphasized the significance of recognition in this domain, further underscoring its importance. In an encouraging message to fellow practitioners in AI ethics, she highlighted the profound impact of their work, stating that it is now more important than ever.

Kasper Junge, in his role as Machine Learning Engineer at SEO.ai, was honored with the Data and AI Influencer of the Year Award. ”This year has been dynamic, particularly in the context of developments related to ChatGPT and GenAI.” stated Kasper. ”Looking back to this year, it is now more important than ever to have data and AI influencers to disseminate accurate information to the public.”

Daniel Gillblad, an experienced AI and Analytics Expert, Researcher, and Manager, won the Lifetime Achievement in AI Award. ”I started working with AI and ML, because I consider it as the most challenging and fun problem there is. For me, it represents the endgame of computer science.” said Daniel. ”And we are just now witnessing the endgame of computer science, and I plan to play my part in this amazing journey.”

Organization Categories

The Award for the Data and AI-driven Transformation Project of the Year went to JP/Politikens Hus – Ekstra Bladet. Ekstra Bladet’s operations are enhanced by the integration of recommended systems, natural language processing, and natural language generation, allowing them to generate a multitude of articles daily for seamless reader accessibility. As a result, this integration empowers journalists through automated tools. Leveraging GenAI further optimizes and streamlines their content creation process, reinforcing a dynamic synergy within the platform. “Thank you for the effort and dedication!” stated Tore Rich, alongside Trine Kirstine Monica Siewartz Engelund, representing Ekstra Bladet.

The Organization Data Strategy of the Year Award went to Skatteverket. Through collaborating with other authorities on an AI assignment, they realized that, as organizations, they are big authorities possessing vast amounts of data. Their proficiency lies in implementing effective strategies to handle this wealth of information. ”We aspire to extend the use of our infrastructure to support fellow stakeholders in the public sector, enabling them to leverage the accomplishments we’ve achieved. Our aim is to foster collaboration and mutual assistance within the public sector.” said Rebecca Filis, Head of strategy, innovation and AI at Skatteverket.

Finland’s Elisa went home with the trophy of the Best Organization Data Literacy Program of the Year. Nina Marila, Chief Data Officer, and Eija Moisala, Head of Digital Identity, Data, and Design System at Elisa, initiated the data literacy program with the goal of fostering innovation collaboratively. The goal of the program is to explore the opportunities presented by AI and GenAI and enhance data quality.

The Organization AI Solution of the Year (technical) Award went to Mesta. Mesta embraced the trend of harnessing the capabilities of GenAI. They leverage Azure AI Services to securely access their proprietary data, enabling individuals to seamlessly upload or search their documents. This initiative not only enhances productivity but also contributes to overall efficiency.

The Most Innovative use of AI/ML of the Year (business) Award went to Novo Nordisk. Peter Vester, Lead Data Scientist at Novo Nordisk and an individual winner in the category Artificial Intelligence Professional of the Year, stated, “We have experienced dynamism at Novo Nordisk this year.” At the beginning of this year, the focus at Novo Nordisk was on strategizing the implementation of GenAI tools throughout the organization; such as ChatGPT and image generation. ”Fast forward to today, our platform boasts over 15,000 monthly users.” Moreover, Novo Nordisk also won the award of Best use of Generative AI (business), where we once again heard from Peter Vester.

The Best AI Startup of the Year Award went to Stylee Intelligence AB, automated personal styling online. Sofie Perslow, CEO/CTO at Stylee Intelligence AB, expressed her appreciation to the partners and investors for their unwavering support.


During the ceremony, attendees listened to insights from industry experts, as some of the guests immersed themselves in thought-provoking firetalks. The engaging discussions revolved around data, analytics, and artificial intelligence innovation.

Mina Boström Nakicenovic, Chief Technology Officer at Flightradar24, delved into the topic of aviation data. ”Whether we work with data acquisition, advanced analytics, or machine learning and artificial intelligence, our passion for our work is undeniable. Yet, there are moments of frustration; especially when grappling with data production regulations or adapting software to evolving data formats.” said Mina. Amid these challenges, people envision a world where data flows seamlessly without constraints. The possibilities unfold against the ”blue sky”, encouraging us to explore the realm of aviation data.

Ulla Kruhse-Lehtonen, Founder and CEO of DAIN Studios Finland, talked about ‘’everything data’’, further unraveling the intricacies of the role of a Data and AI Strategist. In her talk, she addressed questions such as the responsibilities of Data and AI Strategists and the ideal background for professionals in this role.

Vanesa Ericsson, Founder of Girls in Tech Nordics, explored the transformative influence of the “Girls in Tech Nordics” initiative. The company aims to inspire girls through immersive experiences, internships, and collaborations with educators, reshaping curricula to make working with mathematics enjoyable, fostering greater engagement in the IT industry. She seized the opportunity to inspire all attendees, nominees, and online viewers to support the “Girls in Tech Nordics” initiative through active participation in its activities or contributing financial support.

In addressing global public security, Yngvar Ugland, Consumer Technologist at DNB, stressed the significance of AI expertise for navigating the complexities of our AI-driven world. He clarified distinctions, noting that while some may use ChatGPT instead of Google, it’s crucial to recognize ChatGPT as a language model, not a knowledge model, operating differently from traditional search engines.

Closing Remarks

In his closing remarks, Goran Cvetanovski extended gratitude to all participants, emphasizing ”Whether you’re a winner or nominee, everyone’s a winner by being part of the community and the event.” He expressed appreciation for sponsors, acknowledged insightful firetalks, and thanked moderators for their valuable contributions.

”There is always a community waiting for you to meet. You think that people know each other, but they don’t. Go out and meet people, because innovation commences over a cup of coffee.”

In Conclusion

You can revisit the remarkable achievements of the 2023 DAIR Awards winners at this year’s Award Ceremony on our YouTube Channel, in case you missed the live broadcast.

Hats off to all the winners and nominees for their outstanding accomplishments! Their efforts and invaluable contributions have not gone unnoticed. Take a moment to explore the lively atmosphere of the ceremony through some photos. Congratulations to the entire DAIR community for a year of excellence and innovation!

Add comment