How nine digital front-runners can lead on AI in Europe

Report by McKinsey Digital

Given the right conditions, the “DF9”—Europe’s nine digital front-runners—have the potential to drive adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) across the continent.

Globally, researchers are working to discover how artificial intelligence (AI) can be usefully applied across a range of commercial and public-sector situations. Much of the most exciting work is taking place in tech clusters, particularly in China and the United States, which are attracting some of the brightest global talent. Europe is also seeing rising levels of engagement, but not on the same scale. The onus is now on European companies and policy makers to ensure that the continent keeps pace with its peers and realizes AI’s benefits across societies.

If Europe is to make the most of AI, it must find a way to bring together stakeholders from across the continent. One potential source of leadership is the northern European group of nine “digital front-runners,” namely Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. These “DF9” are ahead on AI infrastructure and policy environment, and have the potential, given the right conditions, to become Europe’s AI locus, driving adoption and helping Europe maximize the technology’s impact.

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