Innovation and how to do Business with the UK from a Swedish perspective!

Helen Baxter - Design of Services in UK Healthcare
Helen Baxter – Design of Services in UK Healthcare

On a Wednesday morning in February doing business in a snowy Sweden, Vinnova the Swedish Government Agency for Innovation held a webinar with Helen Baxter who works in the Innovation Office for the NHS, who presented “Design of Services in UK Healthcare”.

Did you know that the NHS actually spends £106 billion per year, 3 million patients are seen every week and its one of the biggest employers of the UK by employing 1.4 million people plus it established itself in 1946 after the National Service Act was published.

The Innovation Centre actually thinks about the patients before implementing changes by experience based design so that everyone gets the best value out of the innovation.

This really inspired me as it could be translated in any business practices and the NHS patients are their customers and I really think that looking at what peoples issues are plus using experiences to make a difference to develop the opportunities for improvement, customers really feel they are listened to then get what they want.  

You can watch the You Tube video at

In the evening I attended the event that the Swedish Chamber of Commerce held at Berns Salonger in Stockholm which was tilted Welcome to the UK “Do’s and Don’ts in the United Kingdom” and I was very interested to see if I could learn something from a Swedish Perspective as I have now lived out of the UK for a year and a half.

British Ambassador - Paul Johston
British Ambassador – Paul Johnston

The British Ambassador Paul Johnston commented that the UK is the 3rd export market for Sweden, Britain is open for business and this is a huge hub for foreign investors.

There is a creative innovative market, the Swedish technology and products are highly seen by the British.

He also commented that there is a big “can do culture in the UK” and I actually agree that if you look at the population of the country then we have a large size army able to change anything we want!

Philip Sheppard from Handelsbanken announced that they now have 147 branches in the UK after starting their operation to develop their UK market place in the 1980’s and can you believe that every 8 days a new branch is being opened, which is good for the British people who really are getting a great service that is personal to them and you can actually meet the Branch Manager who cares about their customers.

The Nordics are having such a influence over the UK that there are 40 fashion designers in the London Fashion week this year, which is bringing a new fresh look from Scandinavia to the British fashion consumers.

Annika Goodwille who moved to the UK 30 years ago to start Goodwille in London and has also helped some 500 companies, commented some of the following Do’s and Don’ts of doing business in the UK:

  • Do know who you are doing business with!
  • Do let the British take the lead….Initially!
  • Wear a dark suit to meetings!
  • Do build relationships with people you want to do business!
  • Have a good business card not with VD in the British Market!
  • Ensure you have title to make sure people take you serious!
  • Never talk about money, religion and politics!
  • Do focus on networking and become a member of a club!

After the event with reflection of whether I learnt something, it was great seeing what other people think about the British and to also see the UK from a different cultural perspective!