Sweden maintains top position in European Innovation Scoreboard
Sweden has maintained its status as Europe’s top Innovation Leader this year, based on the European Innovation Scoreboard or EIS.
EIS compares the innovation performance of EU members, other European countries and several neighbouring countries. The data showed that Sweden scored 135.5 of 150 percent of the EU average. The country’s innovation performance also grew 10.5 percent higher than most EU countries this year.
Annie Lindmark, program director at Vinnova, the Swedish government innovation agency, said Sweden achieved the top rank for innovation in Europe thanks to the cooperation between its private and public sectors as well as its international-level scientific co-publications. She explained that collaborative works are vital in creating systemic change.
Lindmark explained that collaboration is inherent in Swedish culture, partly due to its geography. Sweden is relatively large for its small 10.4 million population. This situation promotes the need to develop effective communication and transportation systems. It also creates an urgency to work collectively with others to achieve goals quickly.
The Vinnova program director added that the sustainability concerns plaguing the global population today also contributed to Sweden’s high score on EIS. Around 158 impact startups in Sweden have already met the “Climate Action” Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations.
Challenges to Sweden’s innovation
Lindmark also discussed several issues that might set back Sweden’s innovation performance. Due to its small population, Sweden has to attract workers from outside the country to keep innovation going. She said restrictive immigration regulations around skilled labour might cause a labour shortage. However, she maintained that Sweden could overcome this problem based on its past labour re-skilling history.
One of the biggest issues regarding human resources in innovation that Lindmark talked about was diversity.
“How well innovation processes include people with different backgrounds and skills and integrate sex and gender dimensions will determine the outcome of tomorrow’s innovative solutions,” Lindmark said.
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