Sweden ranks third in global innovation index

Sweden has been ranked as the third most innovative country in the world, a step down from last year, according to the 2014 Global Innovation Index.

Sweden ranks third in global innovation index
Swedish firm Spotify is a music streaming market leader. File photo: TT
Being awarded the bronze medal in the Global Innovation Index (GII) is a demotion from the runner-up position the country held for the last four years, the main reason behind it being a drop in inputs this year.
The report, published by INSEAD, the leading international business school, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, ranked 143 countries/economies on the basis of their innovation capabilities and results.
Innovation is measured by tallying elements of the national economy which embody innovative activities over seven components: institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication, business sophistication, knowledge and technology outputs, and creative outputs.
Despite losing out on the second place in favour of the United Kingdom, the CEO of INSEAD, Bruno Lanvin, saw no reason for Sweden to feel ashamed.
"Sweden is showing spectacular results without any big weaknesses, and is one of the world's most innovative countries," he said at a press conference.
"The country is like one of the top students in a class sitting at the front and keeping up with everything."
Sweden were particularly prominent in the areas "Research and development" and "Knowledge and technology outputs", the report stating that the country was "one of the five economies at the efficiency frontier".
Furthermore, according to the GII's depiction of a perfect world for innovation, Sweden would be the country in charge of information technologies, an industry associated with computer hardware and software, telecom equipment and e-commerce.
The top ten innovative countries in the world
1. Switzerland (Number 1 in 2013)
2. United Kingdom (3)
3. Sweden (2)
4. Finland (6)
5. Netherlands (4)
6. United States of America (5)
7. Singapore (8)
8. Denmark (9)
9. Luxembourg (12)
10. Hong Kong (China) (7)

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Danish companies invent like never before

Recent years have seen unrivalled levels of productivity from Danish inventors.

Danish companies invent like never before
Novozymes' lab in Bagsværd. File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

An enzyme that breaks down dead cells in the stomachs of chickens so that they don’t need as much feed.

An algorithm that stabilizes the swaying of a wind turbine so that it can be built with a little less steel.

These are examples of products that two Danish companies, Novozymes and Vestas, have developed and been granted patents for.

Danish companies are now among the most active in developing new products, according to a report published on Tuesday by the European Patent Office. In the report, Denmark was listed as number 3, after Holland and Switzerland.

In 2018, Danish companies applied for 2,390 patents in Europe, a 14.4 percent increase compared to the year before, and the highest amount Danish companies have ever applied for in one year, the report stated.

The Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri, DI), a private interest organization made up of approximately 10,000 Danish companies within manufacturing, service and trade, said the report reflects an investment on developing new ideas and transforming these ideas into real solutions.

“Danish companies are highly innovative. They are willing to invest large sums of money in order to be the first ones to come up with new solutions,” DI’s head consultant Lars Holm Nielsen said.

“The largest companies invest a lot of money in research and development, but there are also many small and medium-sized companies that are ahead in their respective fields when it comes to the development of new products,” Nielsen added.

Several of Denmark’s largest companies are amongst the most active in finding and developing new ideas. Last year, Novozymes was at the top with 192 patent applications. Vestas, Novo Nordisk, and Oticon were all close behind.

Claus Crone Fuglsang, research director at Novozymes, said that patents are crucial if the company is to continue to develop new products.

“Novozymes is a company that is driven by innovation. Patents ensure that the company finds a legitimate market for the products we develop. Patents also help us to maintain earnings to cover the costs of the development process,” Fuglsang said.

“Without patents, technology makes it very easy for others to copy our products. We have to make sure that we that we are compensated for the costs of research and development,” he added.

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