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Business Innovation Blog

Read about marketing, innovation, emerging technology and Design Thinking Methods. Includes lean startup, agile development and rapid prototyping tools.

Scandinavia and Central Europe dominate global innovation


We hear so much innovation hype about Silicon Valley, Israel and other places around the world. But which countries and regions really have the facts to back up their claim of being an innovation hub? To answer that question, I created The Big and Small Innovation Benchmark.

A fair benchmark is not just the traditional economic facts such as R&D and GDP. I wanted to spice it up a bit, so I added data with fastest Internet average connection and highest paid software developers.

The result was really clear - Scandinavia and Central Europe dominate global innovation. They take 4 of the top 5 in The Big and Small Innovation Benchmark with strong showings from Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark. Japan raised a hand for Asia by coming into the top 5.

Despite having Silicon Valley, the USA is not a leading player in innovation. With a poor showing in average internet speed and the Bloomberg Innovation Index - the USA should be concerned about its innovation future.

Here's the top 15 of The Big and Small Innovation Benchmark:

  1. Sweden
  2. Germany
  3. Switzerland
  4. Japan
  5. Denmark
  6. Singapore
  7. Finland
  8. United States
  9. Norway
  10. S. Korea
  11. Israel
  12. France
  13. Canada
  14. France
  15. Macau
  16. Hong Kong
  17. Australia
  18. China

Here's how the data I used for The Big and Small Innovation Benchmark.

  • 2018 Bloomberg Innovation Index (R&D, Macro economic)    
  • Entrepreneurship Rankings Wharton (easy to start, infrastructure)    
  • Countries with the best internet connection    
  • The Highest Paying Countries for Software Developers in the World
  • Patent applications per million population

Tip of the hat to our friends in Europe. 60% of the top ten innovation countries hail from Europe.