Facts & references: Swedish innovation 
(source: http://fakta.swedinvent.se)

In 2015, the Swedish government allocated € 1.66 billion in R&D support, directly to universities, plus another € 0.99 billion to research funding institutions. [SCB: state budget analysis 2015, page10]
The corresponding government support to independent innovators/inventors amounts to approximately € 21 million per year or 0.78 per cent of € 2.65.

The thesis '
Triple Helix'* launched in the mid-1990s by Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff from Stanford University argues that innovation occurs when universities are coordinated with companies under state funding. Sweden's national innovation strategy is largely based on this thesis, which is also confirmed in the allocation of the government's financial efforts as described above.

The Stockholm Innovators Association, STIK, has produced the report "Where did Swedens Top 100 innovations originate?", through Stefan Fölster / The Reform Institute and Christian Sandström, Innovation Researcher at Chalmers and Ratio.
The study funded by the Swedish Inventors Association shows that only 20% of the innovations originate from universities and research institutions. If you exclude medicine (which by nature requires academic research), the figure is down to 10%, as opposed to 90% of the innovations, outside the academy.

Innovations, according to the report, in other words originate mainly from innovators / inventors, in employment or in their own business.

"If an overwhelming majority of Sweden's groundbreaking innovations were created by individual inventors / entrepreneurs and individuals employed by companies, then the Swedish innovation policy should focus on these actors primarily."   
Christian Sandströms cited conclusion in the report.

An innovation strategy excluding them is likely to give very low innovative growth.

It is therefore remarkable that none of Sweden's research clusters on innovation since 2004;
CESIS - Center of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies,
CIIR - Center for Inter-Organizational Innovation Research
CIND - Center for Research on Innovation and Industrial Dynamics,
CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research & Competence in the Learning Economy,
RIDE - R & D and Innovation & Dynamics of Economics,
so far, have reported how and where innovations mainly emerge, which is considered to be absolutely central in the design of a national innovation strategy.

* The thesis 'Triple Helix' was initiated in the 1990s at Stanford University by Etzkowitz (1993) and Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff (1995). The thesis expresses a vision that the three institutional spheres of universities, industry and government should generate innovation. The vision not only encompasses the creative destruction shown as a natural innovation dynamism (Schumpeter, 1942), but also the creative renewal that occurs within the three institutional spheres of universities, industry and government, as well as at their intersections. The Triple Helix concept thus builds on three ideas: (1) a more prominent role for the university in innovation, in line with industry and government in a knowledge society; (2) a movement towards cooperative relations between the three major institutional spheres, where innovation policy is the result of interaction rather than a government recipe; (3) In addition to fulfilling their traditional functions, each institutional sphere also takes "the roles of others" in that way, performing new roles in addition to their traditional functions.


Perception versus facts: A possible explanation to the Swedish innovation paradox?
Sweden scores very high in terms of innovation in several international surveys. But the top rankings deal primarily with Sweden's innovative conditions, e.g. input. The parameter is mainly based on how much education the Swedes generally have and how large R&D investments we make. Not the country's output in terms of actual turnover or the number of new innovations. (See page 10 i Innovation Union Scoreboard)

Instead Sweden has Europe's lowest innovative growth, contrasting to the top positions we have due to high R&D investmenta, high prosperity, high equality, high research density, etc. (P. 23, IUS). Not until page 69, it is shown how Sweden has backed from its lead ahead the EU average, from 148% to 135% between 2006-2013.
This despite the fact that, since 2006, the government gradually increased its financial support of innovation (to universities) (page 69)

The parameters that determine Sweden's list placement refers, as mentioned, very little to actually realized innovations. The indicators are mainly the country's academic height, the number of companies and the country's investments in R & D and innovation. (Page 10)

In the OECD analysis of Sweden as an innovation country, it is concluded that Sweden lacks a "vital and well-functioning innovation system" (page 8)
We also have a "lack of overall innovation policy", "funding problems for innovation projects", "an unclear regional innovation policy" and "lack of evaluation" (page 9)

The OECD also notes that "the research and innovation proposition presented by the government every four years has a research perspective on innovation". More is also written about political incompetence here (page 14)

Unfortunately, the OECD, as well as Horizon 2020 and other institutions, are of the opinion - contrary to the Reform Institute's report - that universities deliver most innovation, and therefore need to be strengthened. (page 20)

The Global Innovation Index (Cornell University, INSEAD and WIPO) is another international and recurring innovation surveyor.
Tabel 1 shows that Sweden holds a 2nd place after Switzerland (mainly in terms of welfare, number of researchers, published reports, etc.) while tabel 2 shows our "efficiency score", that is, turnover of employment as a result of the country's innovation input (investment in R & D, etc.)

Here is also a link to the 2014 GII. The pdf is about 7mb and the report is 428 pages (!)



The NAO's conclusion is that government venture capital provision is difficult to understand and does not reach the goals expressed by the government. (page 10)
Only 0.2 percent of the capital went to companies in seed phase. Over 40 percent of the state capital was invested in expanding and mature companies. (Pages 11, 48, 49)
The government financiers Almi Företagspartner, Fourier Transform AB, Inlandsinnovation AB, the Foundation for Industrial Funds, the Norrlands Foundation and the 6th AP Fund have over 30 billion Swedish Crowns for investments. However, the 6th AP Fund does not invest in early stages, so approximately SEK 10 billion is the actual available amount. (Page 29)

NAO reaffirms the OECD's criticism that the many national actors in many cases overlap; 40's institutions, funds and foundations that form the state's national venture capital clusters. (Pages 30, 52) Some interesting figures about operating expenses (i.e per employee) of the 7 major players (page 55)



For the governmental support of innovation, the financing issue is important. As reported above, SEK 16.6 billion annually is allocated to universities, compared to SEK 208 million (1.25%) for innovators outside of these.

In this context it is interesting to note in the Universities Annual Report from 2015 that the 2014 unused research grants have continued to increase to now accumulated SEK 17 billion, which is almost as much as the higher education institutions received in revenue from new research grants for 2014. According to the annual report, the unused appropriations increased by approximately SEK 200 million in 2014. (page 127)


The SCB itself expressed surprise at the Ministry of Industry's instruction not to include micro enterprises (86.25% of all Swedish companies with employees *), when commissioned to develope measurement tools for innovation as a basis for the National Innovation Strategy's activity agenda.

Besides, in particular, micro companies from Sweden, such as Mojang, Kisel Electronics, Tail-F, Pingdom, Bitsquid, Telepo, Comfort Audio, ConnectBlue, Skype, MySQL, C3, Coding Technologies, Spotfire, Carmen Systems, TAT, Kreatel, etc. have been sold for 56 billion over the last 10 years, it is noteworthy that - as SCB's report refers to - only base the commissioned survey on companies with more than 200 employees ('The R&D statistics') alternatively with more than 250 employees ('The CIS measurement'). Historically, very few innovation-based companies have started with even as many as 10 employees. These include Google, Apple, 3M, Ericsson and others.

On behalf of Dagens Industri magazine, Stefan Fölster in 2010 examined 696 so-called unicorns, adequate examples of so-called Micro enterprises. Fölster's report, showed that only four of the 696 companies (5.7 per cent) came from an academic environment.

The SCB's 2 sub-reports "Developing Innovation Statistics" show what other statistical parameters the government has requested. Sub report one in principle defines the assignment, while Sub report 2 (from February 2015) summarizes what innovation indicators the investigation actively assumes.
The linked documents contain a number of extracted cited conclusions and key formulations from the report. From this it is clear that there are major knowledge and competence gaps that Sweden's innovation policy needs to fill.

employees Share excl private companies No of companies    
One-man-companies 0 73,81%   803 327    (=private companies)
Micro-enterprizes 1-9 22,62% 86,37% 246 132    
Small enterprizes 10-49 3,00 % 11,45% 32 641    
Medium-sized companies 50-249 0,48 % 1,83% 5 217    
Big companies > 250 0,09 % 0,35% 993     (=0,09% of all companies)
Total 0 - > 250 100%   1 088 310    
Source: SCB:s Företagsdatabas            
Note: Number of companies as of
       Dec 30, 2015
    1-man- + micro enterprizes are 96,4% of all 1 088 310 companies.