Sweden is innovative because it simply has no choice. The domestic market is too small and the country has long been forced to turn to exports to succeed. Its dark winters foster reflection and innovations that can compete on the international market. These innovations are as Swedish as they are international. Swedish brands, for example, are often as much about a sort of cultural democracy as the country itself. IKEA is an example of a super-brand that exports Swedish democracy in the form of products. If you go even further back in history, the Vikings created a very democratic export economy.
Sweden is often referred to as the world’s R&D department, partially due to the amount of ground-breaking work that is done here, but also due to the number of companies and products that have used the country as a test market. Because of its transparency, centralized statistical infrastructure, stable democracy, high standard of living, high level of consumer awareness and manageable size, Sweden is used to test everything from new toothpaste to new pharmaceuticals.
So why not making Sweden to the world’s R&D department?