Sweden Together With Switzerland and the United Kingdom Topped This Year’s Global Innovation Index

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The report is published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization.

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.

Top Rankings

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).

Top Ten 2014 ranking

 

1

Switzerland (Number 1 in 2013)

6

United States of America (5)

2

United Kingdom (3)

7

Singapore (8)

3

Sweden (2)

8

Denmark (9)

4

Finland (6)

9

Luxembourg (12)

5

Netherlands (4)

10

Hong Kong (China) (7)

Norway was ranked number 14, after Germany and above Israel.

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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.

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.”

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Various Groups Score Differently on Innovation

Viewing economies among their regional or income-group peers can illustrate important relative competitive advantages and help decision-makers glean important lessons for improved performance that are applicable on the ground.

The Human Factor: The Essential Spark to Innovation

This year’s report, both through its sub-indicators and through the chapters provided by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the OECD and reports on India, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Moroccohighlights how the human factor of innovation partly explains which innovation champions remain at the top, and why some of the large emerging economies offer divergent innovation performances.

In terms of education as a subset of human capital formation the top performers within the high income group are the Republic of Korea, Finland and the UK. China, Argentina and Hungary take the top positions among the middle-income countries. All of these countries have made visible efforts to maintain or enhance the quality of their human resources through education and life-long learning.

The GII shows that better educated citizens are more successful in higher-income economies in leveraging the favorable contexts for driving innovation. As countries move up the scale of innovation sophistication, the quality of its talents in science, engineering, but also in business and management for example become even more critical.

Global R&D Spending: Strong Post-Crisis Recovery; Growth Slowing Since 

A fall in the growth of public R&D support coupled with the continued hesitancy of company R&D expenditures seems to be leading to slower overall growth of total R&D expenditures worldwide; this is the case especially in high-income countries. In many advanced countries, fiscal consolidation also seems to have negatively affected public spending on education since 2010.

Second, although governments have effectively included a significant number of future innovation-related growth projects in stimulus packages in 2009, support for such efforts seems to have lost momentum in some countries. To be sure, the majority of countries for which data are available continue to show positive R&D expenditure growth in 2013 and 2014. Yet strong R&D spending growth in 2013 and 2014 is expected to take place mostly in Asia, in particular in China, the Republic of Korea, and India.

About the Global Innovation Index

The Global Innovation Index 2014 (GII), in its 7th edition this year, is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO, a specialized agency of the United Nations).

The core of the GII Report consists of a ranking of world economies’ innovation capabilities and results. Recognizing the key role of innovation as a driver of economic growth and prosperity, and the need for a broad horizontal vision of innovation applicable to developed and emerging economies, the GII includes indicators that go beyond the traditional measures of innovation such as the level of research and development.

In just 7 years, the GII has established itself as the premier reference among innovation indices, and has evolved into a valuable benchmarking tool to facilitate public-private dialogue, whereby policymakers, business leaders and other stakeholders can evaluate progress on a continual basis.

To support the global innovation debate, to guide polices and to highlight good practices, metrics are required to assess innovation and related policy performance. The Global Innovation Index (GII) creates an environment in which innovation factors are under continual evaluation, including the following features:

  • 143 country profiles, including data, ranks and strengths and weaknesses on 81 indicators
  • 81 data tables for indicators from over 30 international public and private sources, of which 56 are hard data, 20 composite indicators, and 5 survey questions
  • A transparent and replicable computation methodology including 90% confidence interval for each index ranking (GII, output and input sub-indices) and an analysis of factors affecting year-on-year changes in rankings

The GII 2014 is calculated as the average of two sub-indices. The Innovation Input Sub-Index gauges elements of the national economy which embody innovative activities grouped in five pillars: (1) Institutions, (2) Human capital and research, (3) Infrastructure, (4) Market sophistication, and (5) Business sophistication. The Innovation Output Sub-Index captures actual evidence of innovation results, divided in two pillars: (6) Knowledge and technology outputs and (7) Creative outputs.

The index is submitted to an independent statistical audit by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. To download the full report visit: www.globalinnovationindex.org.