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.
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 utives, 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.
Bruno Lanvin, utive 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.”