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US Loses Innovation Crown to…Iceland

by on March 7, 2010

Can you believe this?

I was pretty much startled after reading this article. Till last year, US was the world innovation champion according to an annual report by INSEAD and the Confederation of Indian Industry. In to this year’s study, the nation slumps to 11th place. Perhaps even more surprising is the new No. 1 is Iceland.

In almost all other cases, they say, bigger the better, but in this its smaller the better.

Having easy access to a big marketplace still makes it easier for innovators to profit from their inventions. Would the iPod or the iPhone have been such big hits if Apple had been based in, say, Iceland? Also, it appears that smaller, homogeneous countries can unite to support policies, institutions, and infrastructure that promote innovation—in the developed world, at least.

The U.S. drops out of the Top 10 because it isn’t sufficiently providing many of the inputs or what the study calls “pillars of innovation.”

Iceland, by comparison, falls below the U.S. in market and business sophistication, but it outshines the U.S. in education and infrastructure. Iceland comes in fourth overall, for instance, in per capita mobile phone subscribers. Its general infrastructure is the world’s best.

Here’s the Top 10 list of countries, with 2009’s rankings in parentheses:

1. Iceland (20)
2. Sweden (3)
3. Hong Kong (12)
4. Switzerland (7)
5. Denmark (8)
6. Finland (13)
7. Singapore (5)
8. Netherlands (10)
9. New Zealand (27)
10. Norway (14)

and 11th is U.S.

-Deepti Shah

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From → Good to Know

One Comment
  1. Emily Cunningham permalink

    Hmmm, perhaps their innovative spirit is rooted in their belief in elves?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/13/international/europe/13elves.html

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