I went there, up North, to discover that country which 50 years ago was a poor agricultural country and is nowadays often ranked as one of the most innovative countries in the world.
Marie Wall, Programme Manager at Vinnova, Sweden’s innovation agency, very kindly received me in Stockholm. We explored together some of the reasons of this innovative leadership.
“The tradition of research is very strong here: measured as a proportion of GDP(1), Sweden is a world leader for investing in research and development”
“In Sweden, there is a culture of early adopters and curiosity, especially in IT. The Swedes also have a high level of education and they travel a lot.”
“In Vinnova, whose annual budget is 200 Million Euros, we promote new, cross-sector collaborations: for example, “green urban transportation” is being developed at the interface between energy, automobile engineering and ICT(2). We also finance test beds to enable researchers try their ideas”
“Sometimes, researchers say: Oh, I have a smart technology, what can I do with it? But Vinnova wants innovative projects to meet economic and societal challenges. As an interesting example, impact analyses have shown that traffic safety researches save thousands of lives and billions of Swedish kronor annually”.
Some move forward the idea that, in a country like Sweden, vast and little populated, with a rigorous climate, a good dose of ingenuity and a considerable work was formerly needed just to survive!
(1) Gross Domestic Product (2)Information and Communication Technologies