The Top 20 Open Innovation Countries

We were recently asked to contribute to an open innovation benchmark study by A D Little and Bluenove on our view on the top 5 open innovation countries. I quickly compiled my own thoughts (which for the record were i. Denmark ii.UK iii. USA iv. Canada v. Colombia/France) but then thought it would be better to crowdsource the response by conducting a mini survey of 18 of our employees, associates and partners from 4 different continents.

Please note there were considerably more European contributors than from anywhere else which accounts (probably) for the prominence of many European countries on the list. In addition we included the top 5 open innovation countries list from Stefan Lindegaard’s blog (and also the recent OECD report 2013 report on open innovation (see here) and thanks to Sharon from Chaordix for the link). The final consolidated list is as follows, with a brief mention of the people, organisations or events that were cited to explain for why each country was included:

  1. USA  – Henry Chesborough, P&G, GE, Innocentive, Ninesigma, OpenIDEO, CoDev, TED, Spigit, Karim Lakhani, Eric Von Hipple, Top Coder, White House Open Challenges, Silicon Valley, MIT
  2. UK – Unilever, Ordnance Survey, Barclays, Open Data Institute, Nesta, 100%Open, Crowdicity, Wazoku, InnovateUK, Cambridge IfM, Tech City
  3. Germany – Mercedes, SAP, E.ON, Beiersdorf, Fraunhofer Institutes, Hype, Hyve, Innovation3, Berlin Start-Up Cluster
  4. France – France Telecom (Orange), Danone, Veolia, Sigfox, Insead, Bluenove, Hypios, LeWeb, CoDev
  5. Netherlands – Philips, Akzo Nobel, KLM, Fronteer Strategy, World Open Innovation Forum, ISPIM
  6. Denmark  – LEGO, Carlsberg, Free Access to Academic Research, User Led Innovation, ESOF, Copenhagen, Stefan Lindegaard, Nosco, DTU
  7. New Zealand – Fonterra, Loomio, strong government support and investment
  8. Japan – Fujitsu, Asahi, Toyota, Impact Japan, strong government support and investment
  9. Switzerland – P&G, Unicef, UN, Catalyx, Union Network
  10. South Korea – Samsung, strong government support and investment
  11. Finland – Sitra, great educational system, strong government support and investment
  12. Canada – Chaordix, Rotman, Don Tapscott, Richard Florida, MaRS, Ideasvibes, strong government support and investment, TV industry, RIM
  13. Colombia – InnPulsa, ColombiaCo4, Medellin, strong government support and investment
  14. Sweden – IKEA, Skype, Spotify, Vinnova, strong government support and investment
  15. Australia – Lots of interest in OI over past 6 months, Tim Kastelle
  16. Indonesia – Maker and Manufacturing industry
  17. Malaysia –Alpha Catalyst, strong government support and investment
  18. Brazil – MJV, Semco, Inovativa Brasil, Allagri, strong government support and investment
  19. Singapore – Biopolis , strong government support and investment
  20. India – Aditya Birla, Tata, IIT

Please do let us know what you think and who we’ve missed so we can improve it next time round. Also look out for the outputs of the ADL and Bluenove report once it is published. By Roland


Disclaimer & Request – This list is not in any way definitive and was compiled quickly and so apologies to any countries or people or organisations that we missed this time round.


  1. Honestly, having worked for global organizations (one that is actually named in the listing), I strongly doubt that Germany made it to No. 3 amongst the TOP 10 countries in the list.

    A strong closed, and only open to alike cultures (e.g. engineers to engineers) culture is something that can be prominently seen in German business environment. Of course there are positive examples such as Berlin (but here one has to take into account the long and special history of West-Berlin especially during the GDR times, where a very unique and international breed and entrepreneurial DNA could develop over time).

    Looking very much forward to further clarification on what is understood with Open Innovation in this context of the mentioned reports.

  2. Hi Ralf

    Thanks for your comment. Regarding the high position of Germany I was also surprised by this as they didn’t make my personal top 5, but a lot of the other people responding (whom I haven’t cited only because I haven’t asked permission yet) felt differently. I asked respondents not to think too hard but just give me their top 5 based primarily on instinct with a few reasons why. I think some people possibly responded given Germany’s strong track record for (closed) innovation rather than open innovation but I’m not sure without further analysis. In any case I think the perception is interesting even if it doesn’t fully represent the reality. Btw i’m half German and lived in berlin (which I agree is a special case) for a few years and take your point about a strong engineering approach. Thanks again

  3. I believe Norway deserves a place on the list. Much like Sweden, Finland and Denmark, Norway have strong government support through the “Innovation Norway” initiative. Companies like Telenor, Statoil and Aker Solution are well known for their focus on innovation. The largest hospital (Oslo University Hospital) in Scandinavia is located in Norway, and they have achieved great success with their use of Induct’s Open Innovation Community.

    Norway also has in the last few years been able to grow a strong start-up culture, and I would give MESH a lot of credit for that.

    Another country (well, a city) that needs to be mentioned is Barcelona, that was awarded “European Capital of Innovation” for 2013, ( I have strong beliefs that because of how much stress the country is under given the economic crisis, they will be among the top 5 on the list within a couple of years.

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