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Five reasons why Europe could be considered as a world leader in innovation

Paul Toms

The telephone, penicillin and the World Wide Web have all been invaluable contributions to the advancement of the modern world as we know it. But did you know where they were all invented? That’s right, the UK. And while as a country we’ve always been at the forefront of technological development, it was fantastic to hear that according to the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2018, the top four countries for innovation around the world are Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden and the UK – and all based in Europe. So, why is Europe leading world innovation? Here we’ve put together five exciting reasons why Europe is testing the boundaries of innovation.

1. Driverless ferries

Talk of driverless cars have been all the buzz this past year and they are currently being tested by manufacturers. But on a much grander scale, innovators in Finland are looking to replicate this automation technology and create the first driverless ferry. "Making ferries autonomous opens up a more efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative for city planners," says Juha-Matti Liukkonen, the director of space and new technologies at Reaktor, the digital and design firm currently piloting this city-changing technology.

2. No resources, no matter

Natural resources are a gold mine for any country, especially for Russia whose natural resources are worth $75 trillion. Not all countries are naturally blessed and Switzerland is one such example that lacks in mineral resources. However, this means the Swiss are forced into driving innovation through research and development. According to the GII 2018 report they rank the highest worldwide.

3. The Government and then some

Non-Government organisations, such as Innovate UK and The British Council, are working together in the name of innovation supporting the UK Government’s Science and Innovation Strategy. They’re doing this under three clear brackets; early career and initial links, collaborative calls, pilots and preparation and supporting scientific culture and research environments. This strategic approach ensures fluidity between the organisations and that everyone is working together for the same results.

4. The new Silicon Valley

Stand aside San Francisco, the Netherlands is here! So, what makes the country so forward thinking? First, Amsterdam is the start-up capital of Europe. Second, Eindhoven, where Philips was born is a business park of technological talent. Third, Utrecht is home to the Science Park, “which is the country’s heart of regenerative medicine, 3D-bioprinting, stem cells and organoids, cancer research and cure, and smart sustainable cities”. The Netherlands has undoubtedly secured themselves as technological innovators and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.

5. Outperforming Apple, Google and Microsoft

Netflix, the American online movie and TV streaming company has the fastest growing subscribers in any type of media. But coming in at second place is Spotify, the Swedish music streaming company created in Stockholm. Home to less than one million people, the city is booming with the tech-savvy, and a huge contributing factor to Sweden’s high innovation rating.

So, there we have it, five reasons why Europe is a world leader in innovation – and why we can’t wait to see how this all evolves over the coming 12 months.

Read our related blog: Technology’s immediate future

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