Sweden, one of the most innovative countries in the world

24 September, 2021

Scientific publications, tech concepts, infrastructure, high tech exports—and patent and trademark applications. These are some of the factors that have won Sweden a top position among the world’s most innovative countries.

Every year the Global Innovation Index, drawn up by the UN’s intellectual property organisation WIPO, ranks 132 countries by their innovation opportunities and results, relying on 80 indicators, among them patent and trademark applications. It is compelling proof of Sweden’s business credibility and stellar reputation for innovation and invention, as Filip Skarp, a patent consultant with Ström & Gulliksson, says.

— Also, in my experience people see Swedish companies as extremely reliable, and direct and to the point about their deliverables and when communicating too.

Filip Skarp says the most fascinating thing about working as a patent consultant is the opportunity to be close to the innovation process.

— I would advise anyone working on an invention or in R&D to contact a patent firm before they’ve even started their project or company. If you start with a plan for your intangible assets, even if it’s only an outline, you’ll find it is worth it in the long run. 

Ström & Gulliksson is happy to offer a free initial consultation where we can go over ideas and possibilities—confidentially, of course—and discuss the importance of mapping out a strategy from the start.

— We attach great importance to fully understanding our clients’ business models and unique requirements. I’m convinced that’s what makes for the best basis for a long-term, profitable collaboration.

Innovation driven by Sweden’s work environment and pragmatism

Filip Skarp believes much of the innovative boldness found in Sweden and Swedish companies is there in schools.

— Most people who have been through the school system, especially Sweden’s engineers, often have very practical, pragmatic views about technology and problem-solving. It means we’re not as locked into theoretical models or past solutions, and we dare to think outside that famous box, says Filip, singling out another positive factor: the work environment at Sweden’s companies.

— The open climate in many workplaces is another strong contributing factor. Swedish employees will ask questions and challenge standards, and that freedom drives improvement, product development, and innovation.

A couple of the current trends, Filip says, are solutions to reduce environmental impact and innovations in artificial intelligence which are realisable in concrete terms.

— At the moment we’re seeing a lot of smart new inventions propelled by a determination to help reduce environmental impacts and energy consumption. And where they used to be blue-sky visions, these are inventions in highly topical areas such as artificial intelligence or machine learning that are offering real technology.

The Swedish government is prioritising innovation

WIPO’s rankings have been published every year since 2007, and Sweden has put in a strong showing by holding the second place for the past three years. The Swedish government has reiterated its continued prioritisation of innovation issues, saying it is crucial because of the need for a green deal and the impact of digitalisation on companies, jobs, and daily life.

The Minister of Enterprise and Innovation, Ibrahim Baylan, is quoted in the Government Offices of Sweden press release:

— Sweden is again one of the most innovative countries in the world. An important part of that is our unique ability as business, universities, civil society, and the public sector to work together—to rally and find solutions to the challenges society faces. Our innovative strength means we have the chance to shape our green and digital futures, to create new products and services which will have an impact locally and globally, and to create more jobs in Sweden, says Ibrahim Baylan, the Minister of Enterprise and Innovation.

The world’s 10 most innovative countries in 2021 according to the Global Innovation Index:

1. Switzerland
2. Sweden
3. USA
4. UK
5. South Korea
6. The Netherlands
7. Finland
8. Singapore
9. Denmark
10. Germany

Source: Regeringskansliet/Government Offices of Sweden