ideanote logomark
Video Courses
Innovation Strategy
Nordic Innovation: Top Nordic Companies and Their Success

Nordic Innovation: Top Nordic Companies and Their Success

Nordic countries are leaders in innovation, particularly in green solutions. Norwegian Air, KONE, H&M, and Carlsberg are some of the successful Nordic companies. Denmark is known for its green innovation, while Iceland has a thriving tech industry. The success of Nordic innovation can be attributed to factors such as a strong welfare system, open culture, and disruptive education approaches. These countries serve as an inspiration for innovation worldwide.

Nordic Innovation: Top Nordic Companies and Their Success

Nordic innovations are a hot topic. It is no secret that everyone wants to know what makes them so successful when it comes to pumping out great innovations, time after time.

Nordic countries are world leaders in innovation with special success in the field of green solutions. The Nordregio report 2016 found that: “The key to innovativeness of regional and national economies lies in the existence of favorable framework conditions and well-functioning innovation systems.”

These are our favorite Nordic innovations and companies:

Most innovative Nordic companies and products

Norwegian Air: Based in Oslo, Norway, primarily known for its low-cost flights within Europe, Norwegian has recently taken its business globally. They have expanded to more than 150 destinations in Europe, the United States and the Caribbean. Norwegian’s low-cost, long-haul transatlantic fairs took off quickly and left its competitors in the dust.

Bjørn Kjos, chief executive, has said he sees no difference in flying short-haul or long-haul. “ I don’t see anything really different about flying long-haul or short-haul. Now with the new aircraft types we are able to fill a gap that wasn’t even there before- flying direct to the US from small cities that didn’t have the possibility. He added: “I think we will shape the industry. If you call it disruption it will be disruption. EasyJet and Ryanair created a new way of travelling in Europe. Now we will do that with low-cost and long haul.”

P.S. do we even need to mention how creative their marketing strategy is?

Nordic innovations: Finland and Sweden

Innovation presents a key cornerstone in Finland’s approach to generating long-term, sustainable economic growth and international competitiveness. Finland has successfully completed the transition from a factor driven economy to an efficiency driven economy and, finally, to an innovation driven economy.” A great example of highly innovative Finnish companies is KONE.

Headquartered in country’s capital, Helsinki, KONE is a global leader in the escalator and elevator industry and it operates in more than 60 countries around the world. From airports to cruise ships to Dubai, KONE’s innovations are everywhere. Their novel technologies help people reach the top of the world – quite literally…

Take the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand for example. These are the challenges they were presented with and the solutions they made.

Sweden is a country behind many globally successful brands such as H&M, IKEA, Volvo and Electrolux. Unsurprisingly, when it comes to tech startups, Sweden is far in front of its Nordic brothers and sisters, with the ownership of so many innovations that it’s hard to point out a single best company.

Pacemaker, adjustable wrench, HIV tracker, zipper… All made in Sweden. All of these inventions are such a big part of our daily lives that we never talk about their origin. You’re carrying your milk in a carton instead of a glass bottle, aren’t you? Thank Sweden. TetraPak was conceptualized in 1946 by Erik Wallenberg and produced by Ruben Rausing. Today TetraPak is used for storing and distributing liquids and various dairy products.

Denmark: homeland of Lego, insulin and green innovation

When we talk about green innovation, it would be wrong not to mention Carlsberg, who is currently running a Together towards ZERO program, aiming for a better tomorrow. Their ambitions are big and targeted towards 2022 and 2030:

  1. ZERO carbon footprint
  2. ZERO water waste
  3. ZERO irresponsible drinking
  4. ZERO accidents culture

Besides being named one of the most innovative countries in the world, Denmark is often called the world’s happiest country . Thanks to Carlsberg, we finally know the secret to the nation’s happiness. The secret was leaked in The Danish Way, Carlsberg’s commercial, aired earlier this year.

But Nordic innovations is more than beer and great ads.


When talking about Nordic innovations, Iceland is the country we should all have on our radar. With an open economy and high standard of living for their only 334,252 inhabitants, Iceland is home to an impressive number of innovative tech companies.

RVX is a visual studio behind many, many films such as Gravity and Sherlock Holmes, and never settle for mediocre quiality. It’s co-founder Dadi Einarsson has provided VFX supervision for the Harry Potter movies.

If you like Social Networking, you might have heard of Blendin, an app that connects friends who are going out. Blendin collects information on popular clubs and connects groups of friends so everyone is up to date on the night’s plans. The idea is to eliminate the need of other social networks such as Facebook and WhatsApp.

In 2016, Iceland was ranked as 8th most innovative country in Europe by Innovation Scoreboard.

Nordic Innovations: The secret

Nordic countries are characterized as happy and culturally open, with on of Europe’s best welfare systems. Satisfaction and high social mobility are important factors in a successful development of innovative minds. These countries are blowing the innovation barometer year after year, so obviously what they’re doing is working. So what are they doing?

Besides having great welfare systems and an open culture, Nordic countries are known for their disruptive education approaches. Finland is known for having the best educational system in the world. Furthermore, inequality and crime rates are low, while productivity and economic growth are high in the Nordics. All these factors are clearly the winning factors. Nordic innovations are an inspiration to many other nations and now that the secret is out, we can only hope to see innovative concepts blooming all around the world.

If you like this article, make sure to read or article on Innovative Scandinavia and its secrets. Grab a paper and take notes, it will be worth it.

Ready to Transform with Strategic Innovation?

If you're looking for an all-in-one solution for your innovation, look no further than Ideanote! With our flexible platform you can do everything from collecting ideas, engaging your crowd and analyzing your innovation performance.

Keep Reading

Ready to strategize innovation effectively?