The Global Innovation Index was released on the 2nd of September, 2020. As an analyst and recovering economist, I love these types of rankings. The Global Innovation Index carries credibility and weight. It is a venture bookended by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It ranks countries around the globe on 75 metrics, spread across seven key theme areas. These themes include Infrastructure, Human Capital and Research and Knowledge/Technology outputs. Most of the metrics are tangible, economic measurement and provide an excellent benchmark. The report can be found here – https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/gii-2020-report#
Who is in the Top 10. Well, there is no major surprise.
1 – Switzerland
2 – Sweden
3 – United States of America
4 – United Kingdom
5 – Netherlands
6 – Denmark
7 – Finland
8 – Singapore
9 – Germany
10 – Republic of Korea
A range of economic models, but Europe dominates with six countries ranked in the top 10, or seven if you include the UK as part of Europe.
Singapore and Korea as expected are the Asian countries in the Top 10, and of course, the US comes in at number 2.
The USA is such a powerhouse for technology and has such a considerable economic footprint. Three Nordic countries are all represented in the top 10. The balance that these countries have between citizens, enterprise, education and innovation works consistently and across a range of measures.
The US and UK have a different approach, of course, but again innovation is evident.
It is essential to note that most of the measures in the study occurred before the COVID crisis that has engulfed our world. This means that the 2021 research, and increasingly the 2022 study are going to show a quantum shift in innovation across countries. Whilst it is difficult to have a crystal ball, the states that have handled COVID well are going to be able to maintain their innovation success, particularly focused on access to capital, knowledge and education. Korea, Singapore, for example, will benefit from this. The US may struggle, the tech will still be innovative, but with social and economic upheaval, the energy required for innovation may become more challenging to manage.
Some fascinating insight for those countries outside the top 10. Hong Kong sits at 11. However, Hong Kong is now entering a period of political and social disruption, as well as facing the ongoing impacts of COVID. It will be challenging for Hong Kong to maintain innovation if it starts to suffer a brain drain. The winners from that may well be countries such as the UK, Taiwan, Australia, Singapore and others that are actively courting talent from Hong Kong to emigrate.
Israel ranked 12th, China 13th and Japan 15th. Israel is, of course, a long term hub of innovation, particularly in sectors such as Technology and knowledge. China and Japan have always been powerhouses of creation, but it is imperative to note that Korea has overtaken them both. Korea is incredibly underrated from an innovation perspective, so the acknowledgement ahead of the other North Asia Powerhouses is of worthy attention.
India is ranked outside the top 50 countries for innovation. If the success of India from technology and economic perspective accelerates, it has to make correct and strategic investments. Otherwise, it will continue to lag. It has much more ambition than that seen by such rankings.
Innovation is the lifeblood of future growth for a country. Measures such as the Global Innovation Index highlight the importance of this using tangible metrics. Smaller markets are often more innovation orientated than larger states, and this is worth noting. It is also essential to understand that when there are 75 such measures of innovation, the path to being an innovative economy does not lie in investment in a single aspect of the economy. Instead, it needs to be integrated across government, education and private enterprise, will all elements working together in unison. Otherwise, innovation is lost, and citizens are the first to suffer.