The Top 10 Most Innovative Economies – Results From The 2014 Global Innovation Index
Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Sweden topped this year’s Global Innovation Index, while Sub-Saharan Africa posted significant regional improvement in the annual rankings published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Amid a newly documented slowdown in the growth of global research and development, the theme of the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2014 is “The Human Factor in Innovation,” exploring the role of human capital in the innovation process and underlining the growing interest that firms and governments have shown in identifying and energizing creative individuals and teams.
For this year’s GII launch, Australia’s Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane joined authors of the report and its partners in Sydney at a gathering of international business leaders (known as B20) which is part of Australia’s preparations to host the annual Group of Twenty (G20) Leaders Summit on November 15-16, 2014.
“Launching the GII in the run-up to the G20 hosted by the Australian Government and as its first launch in the Asia-Pacific region reflects the uniqueness of the GII as tool for measuring and improving innovation performance. said Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). He added “It recognizes the centrality of innovation for a job-rich, strong, sustainable and balanced growth path – as envisioned by the G20 leadership.”
“I’m honored to launch the GII in Sydney today and am very proud to see Australia leading the way in trade and competition. Australia is an investment destination offering a highly skilled workforce. We understand that efforts to increase prosperity depend on innovation, creativity and a focus on new global markets, as well as a strong intellectual property system – a central part of the growth agenda being discussed by the G20,” said Mr. Macfarlane.
The GII 2014 surveys 143 economies around the world, using 81 indicators–to gauge both their innovation capabilities and measurable results. Published annually since 2007, the GII is now a leading benchmarking tool for business executives, policy makers and others seeking insight into the state of innovation around the world. This year’s study benefits from the experience of its Knowledge Partners: the Confederation of Indian Industry, du and Huawei, as well as of an Advisory Board of 14 international experts.
For the GII 2014, Switzerland remains the leader for the fourth consecutive year. The United Kingdom moves up a rank to second place, followed by Sweden. A new entry into the top 10 this year is Luxembourg (9th).
These GII leaders have created well-linked innovation ecosystems, where investments in human capital combined with strong innovation infrastructures contribute to high levels of creativity. In particular, the top 25 countries in the GII consistently score high in most indicators and have strengths in areas such as innovation infrastructure, including information and communication technologies; business sophistication such as knowledge workers, innovation linkages, and knowledge absorption; and innovation outputs such as creative goods and services and online creativity.
The quality of innovation is assessed as well. In terms of innovation quality – as measured by university performance, the reach of scholarly articles and the international dimension of patent applications – the United States of America (USA) holds the top place within the high-income group, followed by Japan, Germany and Switzerland. Top-scoring middle-income economies are narrowing the gap on innovation quality with China in the lead, followed by Brazil and India.
Soumitra Dutta, Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University and co-author of the report, points out that “When reviewing the GII quality indicators, top performing middle-income economies are closing the gap with high-income economies. China significantly outperforms the average score of high-income economies across the combined quality indicators. To close the gap even further, middle-income economies must continue to invest in strengthening their innovation ecosystems and closely monitor the quality of their innovation indicators.”
The GII 2014 confirms the persistence of global innovation divides. Among the top 10 and top 25, rankings have changed but the list of economies remains unaltered. A difficult-to-bridge divide exists where less-innovative economies have difficulty keeping up with the rate of progress of higher-ranking economies, even when making notable gains themselves. This can be partially explained by their difficulties to grow and retain the human resources necessary for sustained innovation, which is the focus of this year’s report.
Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director for Global Indices at INSEAD, and co-author of the report, stresses that “As innovation becomes a global game, a growing number of emerging economies are confronted with complex issues whereby ‘brain gain’ can only be generated through a delicate balance between talents outflows (e.g. citizens seeking an education abroad) and inflows (whereby high performers return home to innovate and create local jobs, and diasporas contribute to national competitiveness). Around the world, we see encouraging signs that this is happening.”
Click here to download the full report. Watch this summary video below.
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