The OECD uses the term ‘competitive paradox’ when the purported link between competitiveness and innovation does not hold. According to conventional thinking, a relatively low innovation score should give a low gross domestic product (GDP), not high. Both the Basque Country and Norway get a low score on innovation, and a high score on GDP per capita, in the European Innovation Scoreboard.1 Christian Kellner, from Harvard Business School, argues along the same lines in the Financial Times in May 2008 with the headline ‘Nordic states stay hot on globalisation’. He says that the Nordic countries are like a bumble bee, ‘they fly against all aerodynamic principles’. There seems to be a similarity between the Basque Country, Norway and the story about the bumble bee. They apparently all contradict conventional thinking.