Switzerland most innovative country for the sixth consecutive year
Switzerland leads the 2016 rankings in the Global Innovation Index released yesterday by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Fifteen of the top 25 economies in the Global Innovation Index GII come from Europe, including the top three. Switzerland retains the top position for the sixth consecutive year, followed by Sweden (2nd), and the United Kingdom (3rd). Following these top 3 regional leaders are Finland (5th), Ireland (7th), Denmark (8th), the Netherlands (9th), and Germany (10th), which joins the top 10 in 2016.
Europe benefits from comparatively strong institutions and well-developed infrastructure, while room for improvement is found in business sophistication and knowledge and technology outputs. Europe does particularly well in environmental performance, ICT access, and school life expectancy. At the same time, there is room for improvement in R&D financed by businesses, R&D financed by foreign firms, high-tech exports, and international patent filings.
China in the Top 25
China joined the ranks of the world’s 25 most-innovative economies. China’s top-25 entry marks the first time a middle-income country has joined the highly developed economies that have historically dominated the top of the Global Innovation Index (GII) throughout its nine years of surveying the innovative capacity of 100-plus countries across the globe. China’s progression reflects the country’s improved innovation performance as well as methodological considerations such as improved innovation metrics in the GII.
Despite China’s rise, an “innovation divide” persists between developed and developing countries amid increasing awareness among policymakers that fostering innovation is crucial to a vibrant, competitive economy.
Slower growth of R&D expenditure
Innovation requires continuous investment. Before the 2009 crisis, research and development (R&D) expenditure grew at an annual pace of approximately 7%. GII 2016 data indicate that global R&D grew by only 4% in 2014. This was a result of slower growth in emerging economies and tighter R&D budgets in high-income economies – this remains a source of concern.
“Investing in innovation is critical to raising long-term economic growth,” says WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “In this current economic climate, uncovering new sources of growth and leveraging the opportunities raised by global innovation are priorities for all stakeholders.”
Author: Stefan Kyora