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Nordic48 / CONFERENCE & MEETINGS WORLD / ISSUE 67a Northern lights in the meetings firmamentTHE NORDIC COUNTRIES ARE KNOWN FOR THEIR SECURE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE, HIGH QUALITY OF LIFE AND THEIR INNOVATIVE MEETINGS INDUSTRIES. CMW REPORTSWORDS VIKKI CARLEY / SARAH O'DONNELL

NordicISSUE 67 / CONFERENCE & MEETINGS WORLD / 49InnovationThree of the Nordic countries in this feature were recently ranked among the most innovative countries in the EU in the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2012. Sweden topped the list, with Denmark and Finland following behind. These countries were ranked as 'innovation leaders' by the Maastricht Economic and Social Research and Training Centre on Innovation and Technology.It found all member states in the table have improved their innovation performance. However, innovation performance growth is slowing down and the EU is not closing the persistent gap with global innovation leaders US, Japan and South Korea. CMW shines a Nordic light to ascertain just how innovative these countries' meetings industries really are in attracting convention business. he Nordic countries of Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Denmark have joined forces for decades in many economic and political shapes and their meetings industries have followed suit. "The co-operation of these countries goes back decades when it comes to leisure travel so the natural progress was to form an alliance in regards to the MICE industry," Iceland Convention and Incentive Bureau (ICIB) MD Solveig Lilja Einarsdottir tells CMW. "We are working together on many levels emphasising, our sustainability and meetings infrastructure, and we are working on an accord between our destinations." The Scandinavian International Convention and Congress Association (ICCA) Chapter is currently in the process of developing a Nordic Sustainability Meetings Zone and hopes to launch it at the IMEX meetings tradeshow in Frankfurt in May 2012. The Chapter's 64 members agreed to promote the region as more than just 'green' but as transparent and safe meetings destinations with strong human and labour rights. "By promoting the region as a whole we all gain. It is a strength as the probabilities of being able to share leads within our group are high," says Einarsdottir. "We decided to promote the region at two exhibitions in the US in 2011: AIBTM and IMEX America, which was a great success. "We are also building awareness for our region at industry shows in Europe such as EIBTM, where we hosted an ice glass cocktail event, which was also successful."Above: Finland was ranked the fourth most innovative country in the EUTNatural progress was to form an alliance in regards to the MICE industryICIB MD SOLVEIG LILJA EINARSDOTTIR