So, which countries are the most innovative? According to the Global Innovation Index 2012 (GII): Stronger Innovation Linkages for Global Growth Switzerland, Sweden, and Singapore lead the pack in overall innovation performance for the second year running.
The report ranks 141 countries/economies on the basis of their innovation capabilities and results, and is published by INSEAD eLab, a research center at the leading international business school, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations.
The top ten leaders in the Global Innovation Index are:
The top ten is little changed from the previous year with Canada being the only country to leave it.
“The GII is a timely reminder that policies to promote innovation are critical to the debate on spurring sustainable economic growth,” WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said.
Although the most innovative countries tend to be those that are wealthier and highly developed, there are good placings and strong performances from emerging countries such as Latvia, Vietnam and Senegal, as well as low-income countries such as Kenya.
Amid the good news there are some sobering assessments and causes for concern. The report makes the observation that the BRIC countries (Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, and China) need to invest further in their innovation capabilities if they are to achieve their potential.
And GII highlights divides between regions: for example, a multi-speed Europe. Out front are the innovation leaders in Northern and Western Europe, followed by a Eastern Europe that is catching up, but a Southern Europe that is lagging behind.
Investing in Innovation
“The downward pressure on investment in innovation exerted by the current crisis must be resisted. Otherwise we risk durable damage to countries’ productive capacities,” added WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “This is the time for forward-looking policies to lay the foundations for future prosperity.”