Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) have just released their 2013 Edition of the Global Innovations Index (GII). This is an annual Index of all countries in the world, based on how they are set up to support innovative practices and companies, and the successful innovation outputs they produce.

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The list of the top 20 Countries is as follows:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Sweden
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Netherlands
  5. USA
  6. Finland
  7. Hong Kong (China)
  8. Singapore
  9. Denmark
  10. Ireland
  11. Canada
  12. Luxembourg
  13. Iceland
  14. Israel
  15. Germany
  16. Norway
  17. New Zealand
  18. South Korea
  19. Australia
  20. France

The way the countries are ranked is by scoring the countries (or in some cases economic regions where data is available, such as Hong Kong) on 84 indicators which cover the following sub-indexes:

Innovation Inputs

  • Institutions
  • Human Capital and Research
  • Infrastructure
  • Market Sophistication
  • Business Sophistication

Innovation Outputs

  • Knowledge and Technology Outputs
  • Creative Outputs

Looking at the list above, there are a few notable countries missing from the top 20. Japan for instance only reaches number 22, the first Country from Latin America on the list is Costa Rica (39) and the highest ranked country in Africa was South Africa (58). More tellingly is how some of the world’s other major economies have fared. Of the BRIC countries, China (35) fared the best, with Russia (62), Brazil (64) and India (66) doing quite poorly. This is a strong indication that while they have huge economies and have been growing at a higher than average rate, their governance, education and infrastructure are not set up to consistently encourage innovative thinking and behavior.

Also striking is how strongly European countries dominate the list. Apart from the fact that 12 of the top 20 countries are European, 52% of the top half of countries came from Europe (37 in total) whereas only 2 countries in the bottom half are from Europe (Belarus – 77 and Albania – 93). This indicates strong, established governance, education and infrastructure in this region, with many small European countries outperforming much larger countries elsewhere.

The report also goes on to describe a key trend, which is that local and regional innovation ‘hubs’ and clusters are proving to be quite successful in producing a higher proportion of innovative outputs. California, Baden-Württemberg, Tel Aviv and Stredni Cechy are all held up as examples of successful areas where successful innovation facilitates ongoing further growth. Success begets success. This is a lesson for not only governments, but also large enterprises who are considering the best ways to become more innovative.

Remember, no matter where you are located, you and your enterprise can learn from the companies and countries which have proven to be successful, and improve your innovations capability to fit your own culture and requirements. To find out more, register your name and email in the form to the right to get all of our updates, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin using the bottoms along the top right now.