Articles, Media / Op-ed August 17, 2017

The Nordics are among the world’s 10 smartest countries – most likely to ‘produce the next Google’

by Kai L. Chan

Tom Turula

17 Aug 2017 10:48 AM

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Sweden, Finland and Denmark are very well-positioned to foster the big ideas of tomorrow.

This according to the Intelligence Capital Index (ICI), compiled by Distinguished Fellow at INSEAD, Kai L. Chan, who gauged four parameters – education, creativity, cognitive skills and attractiveness for skilled immigrants – to determine the smartest countries in the world with the best innovation potential.

The ICI was published by INSEAD Innovation & Policy Initiative

Sweden tops the Nordic countries at sixth place, tightly followed by Finland and Denmark on 9th and 10th spots. The top ten is otherwise populated by European and North American countries, with the exception of Australia and Singapore.

Chan notes that the Nordics have “typically high scores on the aspects of attractiveness for immigrants and creativity.”

The ranking pins Sweden as the world’s most creative country, followed by Finland and the U.S.

“Creativity should be part and parcel of any measure of human capital. Rote learning and memorisation are fast losing value in an era increasingly relying on computers and robots,” writes Chan, who used the Global Creativity Index and countries’ ratio of R&D expenditure-to-GDP as creativity proxies.

Denmark excelled with the quantity and quality of its elite education (5thand 9th in the world, respectively). Meanwhile, Asian countries including China and South Korea claimed all top 5 spots on the sub-category of average cognitive skills, proxied by GMAT and PISA scores.

The report’s author highlights the importance of ‘smart countries’ for innovation with the story of Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin, who “won the citizenship lottery” when his family migrated from the Soviet Union to the United States; the untouchable number one on the ICI ranking, and the only country to earn the distinction A+. Places like Stanford University make for irreplaceable breeding grounds for big ideas, notes Chan:

“Brin’s story illustrates how – given the proper environment – education and creativity can give rise to transformative innovation in the global knowledge economy. His sharp mind would have excelled anywhere, but it was the intellectual and entrepreneurial environment of Stanford that enabled Brin’s full talent to blossom.”

The top 10 smartest countries in the world (country/score):

USA: 74.88

U.K.: 64.19

Germany: 64.18

Australia: 63.96

Singapore: 63.60

Sweden: 61.58

Switzerland: 61.57

Canada: 61.16

Finland: 60.45

Denmark: 60.25

(#18 Norway: 54,98)

(#21 Iceland: 52.01)

Source: Intelligence Capital Index 

Read More about ICI here

Article as it appeared online.

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