Where are the Innovators?

June 17, 2011 By Aminda

A few weeks ago, innovation consultant Stefan Lindegaard sparked a very active conversation on his blog. The topic: identifying the most open innovative countries in the world. He posted his vote for the top four and then left the 5th spot open for discussion. Perhaps the biggest challenge in identifying an innovative country is first identifying the criteria used to measure open innovation, particularly when separating it from other innovation strategies. Is it measured by patents? Technology acquisition from outside sources? Government initiatives?

Lindegaard did not offer many specific criterions, simply drawing upon his own experience, connections and research. Regardless, his top four list: United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and The Netherlands, did not receive much debate. However, the fifth spot seemed a tricky decision. Is it France, Australia, Denmark? Check out the discussion and contribute your opinion.

A research project outlined on the Harvard Business site took a different approach to a similar question, attempting to measure interest in innovation from countries. The study used a Google keyword optimization tool to generate a report of what people within country borders are searching for on the internet. They designed search terms to represent “a wide spectrum of innovation activities outside of the core R&D and patent area,” including ‘design thinking,’ ‘Six Sigma,’ ‘open innovation,’ and ‘product design,’ among others. Their results found the countries most interested in innovation to be: India, United States, Singapore, Canada and South Korea.

The results found some interesting results, including variation in the type of terms searched. The United States, Canada, and the UK were predominately interested in the funding and exploitation of innovation, and in terms that include the root term “create” while India’s and Singapore’s interest in innovation stretches across the range of terms.

What do you think of this study? Does it provide any insight into future innovation leaders? Or is it too simplistic to represent the full spectrum of innovation practice?

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