Greetings. For a country of nine million people, Sweden is very entrepreneurial and tech savvy–especially when it comes to computers, the internet and mobility. In fact, the internet and smart phones are so ubiquitous here that one wonders how life ever went on without them. And it seems that everyone has an iPhone and uses it to accomplish an ever growing number of life's essential tasks–from connecting with friends and colleagues…to taking a bus, trolley or subway…to paying bills and handling banking…to getting up-to-date weather forecasts for literally any corner of the country…to playing games.
And at the center of this obsession are important Swedish innovations. These include Skype–the wonderfully simple internet phone service that allows us to engage with friends, relatives and colleagues almost anywhere in the world. A wide range of award-winning video games including Minecraft. And Spotify which has shaken up the world of on-line music with its service that allows users to choose the songs they want to listen to as opposed to Pandora's "focused radio" format.
And now Pinchos in Goteborg (i.e., "Gothenburg" to non-Swedes) is reinventing the way that people interact with a restaurant and their dining experience. Billed as Sweden's first "app restaurant," customers here read the menu and order on their smart phones then receive a text message when their food is ready. The big question is whether or not this is simply a fun and empowering way for Swedes to dine, an attempt to minimize the importance of customer service (which is not one of the great strengths of Swedish culture) or a way for people in a more introverted culture to enjoy a meal with friends without having to interact with unnecessary strangers.
In any event, one can only imagine the new ideas tied to mobility and connectivity that will continue to come from Sweden in the years ahead.
We win in business and in life when we give people choices. And when we find powerful and not-so-powerful ways to enable them to live mobile lives.