Denmark is EU’s most innovative country
According to an extensive survey carried out by Gallup Europe, Denmark is the most innovative country in the European Union (EU). No other member country can measure up to the ability that Danish companies have to develop new products and improve production.
It’s official: Denmark is the European Union’s most innovative country in terms of the ability of its companies to develop new products, manufacturing processes and marketing methods.
This is the conclusion of a new study carried out by Gallup Europe on innovation in the member states of the EU-funded research institute Eurofound. The study is based on responses from nearly 30,000 European business leaders and employee representatives in the private sector.
A position supported by the European Commission, ranking Denmark as “Innovation Leaders” on the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2014, rating the EU member countries on research and higher education system through business innovation activities and intellectual assets up to innovation in SMEs and economic effects.
Since 2010, 52% of Danish companies have introduced or significantly improved working processes, far exceeding the average of 36% for companies elsewhere in the EU.
Denmark is also the best in Europe in terms of developing new products or services. Some 55 % of Danish companies have done this since the beginning of 2010, whereas the EU average is a more modest 41%.
“The study confirms that Denmark is among the leaders in translating knowledge and energy into work processes and products that provide intrinsic business value” comments the director of the Danish Chamber of Commerce, Christian T. Ingemann.
Adept at adapting
The Danes have established a solid foundation for creating innovative success. Decision-making processes are short when it comes to moving quickly from idea to action, which is a great advantage in an ever-changing global market.
This is supported by the Danish ‘Flexicurity’ social welfare model, which makes it easy for companies to recruit and dismiss employees, and gives companies a greater freedom to take chances and try out new ideas.
The difference between Denmark and countries like Germany, France and Italy, is that this model makes it less risky to hire new people, as there always is the option of downsizing manpower if necessary over a short period of time.
Another factor in Denmark’s strength in terms of innovation is the fact that it is easy to start up and register a new company in Denmark.
Re-inventing the product stories
The American professor and researcher of creativity and innovation at Copenhagen Business School, Robert Austin, points to Denmark’s high wages and costs as a competitive edge, even though most would consider these factors a downside.
Robert Austin also mentions Danes’ ability to make even old products stand out by creating new interpretations and telling new stories about them, and in doing so being able to market old products as innovative. A classic Danish example is Bang & Olufsen, which has managed to convince consumers around the world that their products are better, despite their higher retail cost, by incorporating aesthetic elements and values in their design and branding.