What Is The Most Innovative Country in Europe?

Malta, if you believe this Infoworld article, which presents the results of Eurostat surveys into exports. Here’s the relevant sentence from the article:

For instance Malta, a member of the European Union since May 2004, derives a greater proportion of its export revenue from high technology than any other European country, according to figures from Eurostat, the statistical service of the European Commission. High-tech goods and services accounted for 55.9 percent of Malta’s exports in 2004.

Ireland: 29%, UK: 22%, France: 20%, Germany, 14.8%. Compare US: 27%, Japan 22.8%. I wouldn’t rush to invest in the Maltese currency (Falcons, perhaps?)–percentages don’t take into account the relative size of the economies in question. Malta may appear to have a lot of high-tech exports, but that’s because it’s a tiny island with scarce freshwater resources and not a huge agricultural export industry like mainland Europe. More interesting is that Italy has the most high-tech companies, though they are smaller on average–in other words, Italy has a lot of lifestyle businesses, small shops that service a few customers and aren’t threatening IBM.

Also interesting is the funding of R&D: European research and development is typically less (proportional to GDP) than the US, and more funded by government. It’s interesting that those countries that exceed US R&D spending are those associated with high-tech in Europe: Sweden, Finland, Denmark.

And finally: “while Denmark had broadband penetration of around 18 percent at the end of 2004, and Finland, Sweden and Norway hovered around 15 percent, according to IDC report published in June, the figure was nearer 10 percent for France and the U.K., and less still for Germany.” I’m sensitive to broadband penetration: it’s just 6.9% here in New Zealand, which is appalling and inexcusable. It looks like Nikolaj’s onto a good thing: Denmark wins on R&D spending and broadband penetration. I have got to make it to a Reboot conference …