Geneva, June 15, 2017
Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the USA and the UK are the world’s most-innovative countries, while a group of nations including India, Kenya, and Viet Nam are outperforming their development-level peers, according to the Global Innovation Index 2017 co-authored by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Key findings show the rise of India as an emerging innovation center in Asia, high innovation performance in Sub-Saharan Africa relative to development and an opportunity to improve innovation capacity in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Each year, the GII surveys some 130 economies using dozens of metrics, from patent filings to education spending providing decision makers a high-level look at the innovative activity that increasingly drives economic and social growth. In a new feature for the GII, a special section looks at “invention hotspots” around the globe that show the highest density of inventors listed in international patent applications.
Now in its tenth edition, the GII 2017 notes a continued gap in innovative capacity between developed and developing nations and lackluster growth rates for research and development (R&D) activities, both at the government and corporate levels.
“Innovation is the engine of economic growth in an increasingly knowledge-based global economy, but more investment is needed to help boost human creativity and economic output,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “Innovation can help transform the current economic upswing into longer-term growth.”
Infographic: Leaders in Innovation (credits: Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization)
In 2017, Switzerland leads the rankings for the seventh consecutive year, with high-income economies taking 24 of the top 25 spots – China is the exception at 22. In 2016, China became the first-ever middle income economy in the top 25.
“Efforts to bridge the innovation divide have to start with helping emerging economies understand their innovation strengths and weaknesses and create appropriate policies and metrics,” said Soumitra Dutta, Dean, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University. “This has been the GII’s purpose for more than ten years now.”
A group of middle and lower-income economies perform significantly better on innovation than their current level of development would predict: A total of 17 economies comprise these ‘innovation achievers’ this year, a slight increase from 2016. In total, nine come from the Sub-Saharan Africa region, including Kenya and Rwanda, and three economies come from Eastern Europe.
Next to innovation powerhouses such as China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, a group of Asian economies including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Viet Nam are actively working to improve their innovation ecosystems and rank high in a number of important indicators related to education, R&D, productivity growth, high-tech exports, among others.