Innovation Spotlight: Scandinavia

The Nordic countries of Iceland and Sweden, both rich in resources and boasting advanced social systems, provide diverse platforms for doing business and a fresh approach to the conventional nine-to-five working culture. Last month, Legacy Ventures had the privilege of leading a group of Executive MBAs from the US to both Reykjavik and Stockholm on a multi-country tour of the region.

During their week the group had the opportunity to meet with high-profile business leaders from some of the world’s most pioneering multinationals, including prominent pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca and construction giant Skanska. A meeting with Ericsson moreover demonstrated increasingly inventive means of unifying communication and technology from one of the world’s leading providers of technology and services.

Innovation is at the core of both cultures and participants were further able to delve into the booming start-up scene of Iceland. The group enjoyed interactive workshops with Meniga, a leading FinTech company, and Valka. Currently holding five patents (with even more pending), Valka’s vision is to revolutionise design and efficiency in one of Iceland’s biggest markets – the fishing industry.

On the theme of internationalisation, the group met with IcelandAir Group for a Q&A on Iceland’s booming tourist trade and experienced Reykjavik first-hand with visits to the notable cultural landmarks Blue Lagoon and The Sun Voyager. Finally, adding a closer-to-home element was the group’s visit to the American Chamber of Commerce in Sweden for a presentation on US-Swedish trade and relations.

Inspired and motivated by the unexpected desire to innovate in their industries, the most resounding takeaway from the students’ trip was the Nordic spirit of creativity and entrepreneurship displayed in their meetings with these world-class businesses.