More than half of Swedish businesses have derived significant value from tech investments (not from AI though), according to a recent study from The Economist. However, most businesses are in need of a data-driven intelligence boost in their quest to become future-ready.
Sweden’s unique approach to innovation has made its brands, and bands, household names the world over. It’s second only to Silicon Valley in terms of unicorn startups, and its approach to waste management has been so successful it imports trash from neighbors to create energy. It even has the world’s first green steel plant.
But this ability to sense and pursue opportunities where others demur faces a stern test today. Escalating geopolitical risks in Europe, repeated global supply chain disruptions, and a severe digital talent crunch are some of the factors impeding Swedish businesses’ efforts to become future-ready modern enterprises.
These and other findings have emerged from a global survey by The Economist Impact Group commissioned in 2022. The survey covered 2,000 senior executives from multinational companies across the world, including 135 executives from Sweden.
The survey reveals several interesting findings where Sweden stands out:
• More than half of Swedish businesses have been able to derive significant strategic value from their tech investments, but growing uncertainty over the short and long term dominates executive mindshare.
• With several factors emerging as critical to a modern enterprise, many are finding the implementation of processes, products and technologies to be a major challenge.
• With 49 percent of respondents, Sweden has the highest proportion of decision-makers who says that the business lacks the competence required to introduce advanced technologies.
• 87 percent consider environmental sustainability important to being a modern business. Yet, there is still a lack of a solid data foundation.
Many of the challenges ahead boil down to companies’ use – or lack thereof – of in-house data. Both strained talent pipelines and sustainability efforts need an injection of data-driven intelligence. This will be critical for Swedish businesses if they are to build operating models that can respond to early warnings of impending disruptions.
However, Sweden’s focus on technology and sustainability, an advantage few other countries can boast of, gives companies a strategic head start in this regard. By leveraging data, I believe Swedish businesses can create the right talent and drive sustainable innovation, creating a virtuous cycle of success.
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