Ministry of Ideas —Iceland

With Iceland’s financial collapse, businessman Gudjónsson is seeking solutions and in January he set up the Ministry of Ideas. Monocle Magazine interviewed him.

What is the Ministry of Ideas? It’s a non-profit group bringing Icelandic entrepreneurs, artists and idealists together to share their knowledge and turn their ideas into reality. We hold an open meeting every Saturday.

Why did you create the Ministry? We needed to channel Iceland’s vast human potential into entrepreneurship. We know how important a clear vision is for a company. Take General Electrics as an example: GE has 300,000 employees. Iceland has a population of 300,000. GE has a vision. Iceland needs a new vision. We have an opportunity now to become the leading nation in terms of reinventing ourselves from the current recession.

Does your group have anything to do with the government? We’ve had positive comments from ministers and the president but we are independent. In future, we will make proposals to the government based on our work. And who knows? In the long run maybe we can be the first nation to establish an official Ministry of Ideas.