New magazine and film:
100 years of standards

A standard is a shared solution to a recurring problem. The purpose of standards is to create uniform procedures to generate the greatest possible benefit in a certain area. When the Swedish Institute for Standards, SIS, celebrates 100 years this year, they chose to draw attention to a number of ground-breaking standards in a magazine produced by the Centre for Business History.

As the Swedish standardization body, SIS has produced thousands of standards and worked for their use. The practical work takes place in committees where the standard is developed based on consensus between several participants. It can be companies, users, interest groups, authorities and governments. There are currently around 300 active committees in widely varying fields. In the infancy of standardization, it was mainly about finding solutions to make the industry more efficient, for example by companies agreeing on measurements and sizes. Today, the needs are just as often found in the service sector or in the digital area.

In the anniversary magazine, we talk about one important standard per decade – from the 1920’s plug to the 2020’s management system for whistle blowing. The texts from the magazine have also been converted into a short information film.

We really should be asking ourselves what life would be like without standards. If everything from the size of nuts and bolts to the frequency of a particular note would vary depending on who made or who played. Both technological and societal development would be significantly more difficult and go slower without the existence of standards.

But it is not just about compatibility between companies, organizations and authorities. In most people’s everyday lives, standards have at least as much importance, not least when it comes to communication. It is likely that one or two misunderstandings have been avoided because there are common references to relate to.

Our project team