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About S8Nations

S8nations is a non-profit organization based in Zurich, Switzerland.

The goal of S8nations is to connect the most resourceful leaders and thinkers of the world’s most innovative nations with a view to learn from each other and spark bold, pragmatic best-in-class solutions.

S8nations is a global initiative and platform supported by an extensive network of distinguished leaders across industry, academia, and government from outperforming small nations. Delegates and partners in each of the S8 countries represent and promote the initiative.

Inspired by the book “Too Small to Fail: How Some Small Nations Are Reshaping The World” by James Breiding, the organization was founded on the idea that societies need to contemplate a new world order based on the recognition that our future will be very different from the world we live in today. While big nations have traditionally been at the forefront of this order, solutions to a tsunami of pressing socio-economic challenges such as climate change, pandemics, immigration, artificial intelligence, aging populations, and slowing growth are increasingly coming from small, adaptive and outperforming nations.

  • What is S8nations about?
    S8nations is a global initiative and non-profit organization founded in 2020 and headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. S8nations is a gathering of small, outperforming, socially cohesive, experimenting nations. It is supported by an extensive network of distinguished leaders across industry, academia and science, and government from outperforming small nations. Delegates and partners in each of the S8 countries represent and promote the initiative. S8nations was inspired by the book “Too Small to Fail: How Some Small Nations Are Reshaping the World” by R. James Breiding. Too Small to Fail argues that many of the world’s greatest threats are common and thus require shared solutions (pandemics, global warming, data, immigration, pensions etc). The difficulty with unexpected or slow evolving problems is that it will be too late once the pain is felt. Whether we like it or not we are all in this boat together and need to figure out a way to paddle towards a more desirable future. Historically, solutions of this nature have been led by G7 nations and multilateral organizations they have established and supported. Today large nations are struggling to ‘get their own houses in order’ so it seems unlikely at this juncture to expect robust leadership and a decisive consensus, let alone focus on solving problems agnostic to borders. Since S8 nations are more exposed to the outside world, more collaborative and experimental, could they step up, reimagine the world, and devise one or the other practical solutions?
  • What is S8nation's mission?
    To raise awareness of excellence emerging from small nations, underappreciated elsewhere, with view that this might foster adoption and proliferation in other nations To support collaboration, experimentation and progress among leaders and changemakers from all nations To establish a S8 certificate of excellence, identifying and celebrating outstanding policies and encouraging their proliferation To earn a right to collective S8 participation on global platforms such as the G7
  • What does S8nations do?
    Annual Summit - attracting top decision makers and leaders from the world’s successful small nations. Our goals: to promote these small nations and build S8 identification and community; to be a working laboratory for new ideas and approaches to our shared problems Specialist Events - online or in- person, these focus on particular areas of public policy concern (e.g. climate, pensions, education, etc.) and seek to facilitate learning and collaboration “Big Lessons from Small Nations” Webinars - showcasing genuine leaders from small nations, and their successful policies and inspirational approaches to combatting today’s pressing challenges Hidden Champions Investment Product - S8nations’ hidden champions is an opportunity for investors to gain exposure to S8 Nations, and those companies within them which best capture the values of the TSTF thesis The S8 Good Housekeeping Seal - awarded to initiatives, businesses, products, ideas, foundations, government departments etc. that best adhere to our quality, leadership and values set Speaking Circuit - James Breiding and delegates from the S8 community will continue to speak at academic, government, policy and industry institutions all over the world Research and Publication - will support the S8nations’ work across each of the above operations
  • Who are the S8 countries?
    S8 countries originated with, but are not limited to: 1. Denmark 2. Finland 3. Holland 4. Ireland 5. Israel 6. Singapore 7. Sweden 8. Switzerland Read more here.
  • Who is involved in S8nations?
    The S8 Community is comprised of leaders in society, business, academia, and government. S8nations is supported by companies like Nestle, SwissRe, Roche, and Partners Group.
  • What are the delegations?
    Each S8 country has a delegation consisting of 10-15 people at its core. The delegations are represented by leaders from the S8 nations across different sectors (60% from industry, 20% from government, and 20% from academia and culture). Delegates are chosen based on their demonstrated ability to make a positive impact in their societies. Candidates range from 35 to 80 years old (three generations) to emphasize the importance of considering intergenerational perspectives. The delegations support the S8 initiative by hosting nation-specific events and sharing their networks and ideas with their peers from other countries and are invited to the S8 annual flagship summit. Here is an overview of our structure and example of our S8nations Danish delegation:
  • Who is James Breiding?
    R. James Breiding is the founder and CEO of S8nations. He wrote Too Small To Fail: Why Some Small Nations Outperform Larger Ones and How They Are Reshaping the World, which inspired the S8nations initiative. Furthermore, James is the author of Swiss Made: The Untold Story behind Switzerland’s Success and co-author of Wirtschaftswunder Schweiz. Swiss Made has become the most authoritative work on Swiss achievements across the spectrum of industry and society. In 2014, it was selected by Pro Helvetia, the Swiss council for the arts, as the book that best conveys Swiss values and culture. James is a graduate of IMD Lausanne and the Harvard Kennedy School. He has been selected as a fellow by Harvard University’s Center for International Development in connection with his research on Swiss Made and Too Small to Fail. His work has appeared in The Economist, The Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, among other publications. Formerly, he worked as a chartered accountant and senior manager at Price Waterhouse Coopers, a director at NM Rothschild & Sons and managing director at Templeton Investment. He founded, with the assistance of Sir John Templeton and other prominent investors, Naissance Capital, a Swiss boutique investment firm. He holds American and Swiss citizenships.
  • How can I join the S8nations inititative?
    Get in touch, and let’s figure out what we can do together!


The Book

Leading global powers are witnessing a decline in their influence. In their place, a number of smartly led small countries are redefining what it means to be a great nation.

In South-East Asia, Singapore has found a way to provide cost-effective, quality healthcare for its citizens. In the Middle East, Israel has created a start-up ecosystem that can rival Silicon Valley. In Europe, Finland has transformed its primary education system and Denmark is a world leader in renewable energy. In Sweden, employees can take six months off work to start their own business, safe in the knowledge that they can return to their job if their start-up doesn’t work. Across the globe, these and other small nations are driving a quiet revolution.

What are their recipes for success? How are they achieving better-educated, more egalitarian, happier and wealthier populations? Too Small to Fail looks at a select number of small countries that have emerged as leaders of the pack. It considers the specific policies, individuals, corporations and institutions that have made positive and sustainable change possible. By looking at the parallels between these success stories, Too Small to Fail offers valuable lessons that the rest of the world can emulate.

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