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September 16th, 2012

Why do Nordic Countries Top Global Cleantech Innovation Rankings?

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What are the underlying factors and can others learn from the Vikings of the North?

The Nordic countries seem to consistently rank highly in global innovation rankings, topping the list Cleantech Innovation Index[i]. Although the report covers a wide range of indicators to arrive at this conclusion and indeed provides some explanatory rationale as to why the Nordics excel at cleantech innovation, it barely touches the surface. We’ve read several articles that try to dig a bit deeper, without enlightening completely. Amy Brown identifies 5 ‘explanations’ to why the Nordic countries are global leaders of cleantech in an article[ii] with the same title. High levels of general innovation, roots in creating major industries within engineering and technology, the desire to apply technological insight to environmental challenges, strong government backing and a high level of public environmental awareness are Brown’s justification of the strong position of the Nordics in the ranking. We do not disagree with these hypotheses, but they leave us with more questions than answers. We want to get to the heart of the matter: what are the underlying factors of Nordic cleantech innovation success? We set out to analyse the social, cultural and behavioural aspects of the Nordic countries that we believe contribute positively to inputs to general and cleantech specific innovation. This is what we found: + Continue Reading