Take a look around you and survey the objects in your space: What do you see? Well, regardless of what surrounds you, these things were once just ideas in someone’s mind, figments of numerous imaginations yet to be created.
But that’s what we do as humans - we create. We think up ideas to solve existing problems in our world and then we do our best to turn these ideas into realities. It’s in our nature to do better, to make things better, to BE better. This love for innovation connects all of us across the globe, so we’re highlighting some of our wonderful world’s most inventive countries to celebrate the human spirit of invention and our desire to leave the world better than when we found it.
This inventive nation is a leader in innovative companies and startups. Great ideas have been flowing from bright French minds for centuries, including the inventions of the refrigerator, pasteurization, canned foods, the hair dryer, Braille and more. And this clever country isn’t showing any signs of slowing down in the invention department. In fact, some new ideas and prototypes coming out of France now or in the near future include an electric plane, a humanoid companion-type robot, foldable helmets and a pollution measurement device that can sync to a Smart Phone to access the air around you.
One of Europe’s Scandinavian countries, Denmark has been named as the second best country at innovation and research out of the European Union’s 28 states. The small country is also Europe’s leader in digital technology. Denmark’s unique and rich culture values of creativity, teamwork, a classless society and innate sense of community sets a fantastic stage for sharing of ideas and thinking outside the box. Danish inventors are responsible for insulin, The Bluetooth, wind energy, loud speakers and LEGOS.
It should be no surprise that the good ole U. S. of A. made this list of some of the most innovative countries. Numerous life-changing inventions have come to life from American minds and literally changed the course of history including the transistor, Voyager 1 Spacecraft, Saturn V rocket, 3D printing. In addition, several of modern history’s greatest thinkers were American, including Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Ford and the Wright Brothers, just to name a few. Though the United States of America is not #1 on this list, the country does hold the highest patent count of those granted from 1977 to 2015, a most notable feat in the invention industry. It’s such an important piece to the country’s economy that the National Economic Council and Office of Science and Technology Policy within the White House created a 120 page document called “A Strategy for American Innovation” in October of 2015.
Yet another Nordic country has made it onto this list of innovative nations and for good reason. Over the past few decades, Finland has become one of Europe’s leading countries in technology and has a booming economy, with over 15,000 Finnish inventions popping up every year. This accomplishment is due in large part to the Finnish government’s emphasis on free education and the high value placed on creating. Self-described as problem-solvers, Finnish folk created the first Internet Browser with a user interface, the Internet Chat Protocol, the heart rate monitor, wind turbines and the universal mobile phone.
This small but mighty independent city-state is making waves in the innovation industry, and may soon become the hub for global innovation with its plan to invest $19 billion into the science and technology fields over the next five years. It’s also been pegged as the easiest place in the world to do business and the 2nd most competitive city in the world. Since the country itself just recently celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence, Singapore doesn’t have quite as lengthy of an inventing track record as some of the other long-standing nations on our list. But its claim to fame undoubtedly lies is their knack for technological innovations, which include the thumb drive, countless Smart Phone apps and Match.com - and there is surely more to come from this clever nation of people.
Seeing a pattern here? The nations in the North are certainly paving their way in the field of innovation. Sweden’s been smart about investing ample dollars into the areas of reserach and development - two areas undeniably intertwined with innovation - and is ranked the 3rd highest spender in these areas in the European Union. Swedes have produced some heavy hitters in the world of innovation, including the Celsius thermometer, Skype, the Pacemaker, the 3-point seatbelt, ultrasound/ECG technology, the adjustable wrench and the zipper.
In Germany, the values of thriftiness, hard work and industriousness are king, which creates a cultural backdrop quite conducive to successful innovation. Engineering and hands-on experience is highly valued in the country, so it’s no surprise that Germany - the self-proclaimed “land of ideas” - has it’s own governmental Center for Research and Innovation. Germans have cranked out almost too many great creations to choose from, ranging from the Airbag, the automobile and book printing (that’s a big one!), to contact lenses, the helicopter and the first mp3 player. And we’re not even the whole way through the alphabet!
Since the 1960’s, the nation of south korea has gone from one of the poorest countries in the world to having the world’s 13th largest economy in as of 2014 - that’s one determined group of people! Bloomberg ranked the nation as the most innovative country for 2016 based on several evaluation categories including research and development expenditure, high-tech companies, productivity, patent activity and research personnel. Some surprising inventions to hail from South Korea include the milk carton, movable type printing, soft bullet-proof vest, the touch screen phone, underfloor heating and more. Technology reigns supreme in South Korea, so we’ll be sure to see many more innovative creations to come, like invisible zit stickers, outdoor public gyms, watermelon carriers, grocery store pet cubbies and disposable umbrella bags.
What a wonderfully bright world in which we live! With all the innovative, creative and determined nations listed above - and those that didn’t make this list! - continuing to churn out life-changing items, programs, technology and thought processes the possibilities of advancement for modern society are truly endless. No matter what country you live in, it’s time to join the ranks of millions of inventors around the globe!
Comments will be approved before showing up.