With inventions such as Anders Celsius’s thermometer in the 1700s, Alfred Nobel’s dynamite in the 1800s, and Nanna Svartz’s development of the medicine Salazopyrin in the 1900s, Sweden has long been ranked as one of the world’s leading innovative nations. Social, economic, and political factors contribute to Swedes’ innovative spirit; Sweden invests heavily in research, encourages critical thinking from an early age, and embraces international influences. The country has also enjoyed a prolonged period of economic growth and social stability and has a generous welfare system—conditions that encourage entrepreneurship. Another significant reason is the so called triple helix model, whereby academia, industry, and government collaborate to identify, research, and develop innovative technologies and services.
Many Swedish companies have succeeded in part due to their innovativeness, including Volvo, Ericsson, ABB, Tetra Pak, and AstraZeneca. Minecraft and Spotify belong to the new generation of Swedish technological successes.
Photo: Melker Dahlstrand/imagebank.sweden.se
ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST INNOVATIVE NATIONS
Several global indices rank Sweden in the top five of countries when measuring research spending as a percentage of GDP and in the top twenty of countries when measuring the number of patents per capita. Approximately 70% of all of Sweden’s R&D is financed by companies.
Many life-changing inventions come from Sweden, including the rear-facing child seat, the safety match, automatic identification systems, Bluetooth, myFC Powertrekk (the world’s first portable fuel cell), the three-point seat belt, the ultrasound and ECG, the pacemaker, the modern-day zipper, and the adjustable wrench.
No. 5 among 60 countries Bloomberg 2021 Innovation Index
No. 7 among 73 countries U.S. News & World Report’s Best Countries Entrepreneurship 2020 Ranking
No. 2 among 131 countries Global Innovation Index 2020 (INSEAD)