Demos Helsinki made an index to compare country readiness to the hyperconnected era. We wanted to know how countries compare in their current positioning when we rank them based on environmental impact and wellbeing, and how large hidden potential they have.
The insights from these two comparisons are that while countries with great capabilities such as United Kingdom and Spain and countries with relatively good capabilities and great sustainability situation such as Columbia lead the currently in solving this problem, if the best potential in the near future to benefit from the hyperconnectivity is also taken into account, Nordic countries seem to take the lead.
The insight from the difference is that the Nordic countries have an enormous opportunity to become the leading countries in the hyperconnected planet and the major players in solving wicked problems.
In the Hyperconnected Planet Index report (unpublished) we estimated based on different indicators that these are the countries with highest potential to solve wicked problems and be prosperios in the hyperconnected planet.
Nevertheless, countries with the highest capabilities currently were UK, Malta, Columbia, Netherlands, Spain, Ireland, Denmark, Singapore, New Zealand and Norway. Why the Nordic Countries top the list if we take the potential into account?
1. Nordic countries have more broad participation in the society than many other nations
This is measured in the index with e.g. number of females employed in the non-agricultural sector. Nordic countries top these charts with some surprising candidates, such as Ruanda. There is an interesting fact regarding high participation rate in Ruanda: after the genocide Ruandan government made an effort to include women fast to the working force because there was, understandably, a severe lack of men due to death and imprisonment. Nowadays Ruanda is one of the leading countries in female participation in working life. While this demonstrates that rapid changes of culture is possible at least in crises, it is good to point out that the equality in Ruanda does not yet fully translate to private life of the people who live there.
The reasoning behind the importance of the broad participation is that it enables all the potential resources of the society to be utilized.
2. Nordic countries provide a well functioning and trusted rule of law
Rule of law is measured in the index with two different indicators: the general rule of law, and especially the ICT law. Rule of law is crucial because it provides the common rules and regulations with one can develop new business models, participate and collaborate.
3. Nordic countries invest public money to economic development
Other countries that invest large amount of public money are countries with high military spending, e.g. Israel and South Korea. Nordic countries invest also in their companies, research and public procurement. According to the work by Mario Mazzucato, almost all breakthrough innovations require public investments in some part of their development cycle. The indicator that revealed this was the amount of public investment in different countries.
4. Nordics are tech savvy
Naturally the ICT capabilities have an important role in an index that measures the readiness for the next steps of the ICT development. We used ICT access to describe the readiness levels of people to participate via ICT tools, but took also a company perspective by rating countries based on their self-perceived ability to use ICT to create new organization models.
5. Nordic countries rank high consistently
Looking at the selected indicators, one can notice that Nordic countries are not better than other countries topping the charts. However, they consistently make it in the top 10 or top 15. This demonstrates how a good society should take into account all the different aspects of the capabilities and smart systems.