WIPO Announces 2012 Global Innovation Index

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in conjunction with INSEAD, released the 2012 Global Innovation Index (GII) on July 3, 2012. The GII model included study of 141 economies, which represent 94.9% of the world’s population and 99.4% of the world’s GDP (measured in US dollars).  Once again, for the second year in a row, Switzerland, Sweden and Sinagpore top the list, which measures overall innovation performance. The report ranks countries on the basis of their innovation capabilities and results. The United States ranked 10th.

The study shows that the dynamics of innovation continue to be affected by the emergence of new successful innovators, as seen by the range of countries across continents in the top twenty, as well as the strong performances of emerging countries such as Latvia (30th), Malaysia (32nd), China (34th), Montenegro (45th), Serbia (46th), Republic of Moldova (50th), Jordan (56th), Ukraine (63rd), India (64th), Mongolia (68th) and Armenia (69th), all of which were in the top half of those 141 countries studied.

“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. “The downward pressure on investment in innovation exerted by the current crisis must be resisted. Otherwise we risk durable damage to countries’ productive capacities. This is the time for forward-looking policies to lay the foundations for future prosperity.”

The Top 25 Overall

 1.  Switzerland  14.  Norway
 2.  Sweden  15.  Germany
 3.  Singapore  16.  Malta
 4.  Finland  17.  Israel
 5.  United Kingdom  18.  Iceland
 6.  Netherlands  19.  Estonia
 7.  Denmark  20.  Belgium
 8.  Hong Kong  21.  Korea
 9.  Ireland  22.  Austria
 10.  United States of America  23.  Australia
 11.  Luxembourg  24.  France
 12.  Canada  25.  Japan
 13.  New Zealand

The Methodology

The GII uses two indices: (1) the Innovation Input Sub-Index; and (2) the Innovation Output Sub-Index.  For the Innovation Input Sub-Index five elements that enable innovation activities are considered: (1) Institutions; (2) Human capital and research; (3) Infrastructure; (4) Market sophistication; and (5) Business sophistication.  For the Innovation Output Sub-Index two elements that relate to the results of innovative actives are considered: (1) Knowledge and technology outputs; and (2) Creative outputs.  Although there are more items considered under “Input,” both the “Input” and “Output” are given equal weight in the overall scores.

The Top 25 on the Innovation Efficiency Index

Having an input Index and an Output index also allow the GII to calculate a ratio of the Output over the Input, which shows how much innovation output a given economy obtains for its inputs.  Here are the top 25 economies in terms of innovation efficiency.

Before moving forward be warned that it may seem a peculiar list at first glance.  The ratio can favors countries that are particularly good at surmounting weaknesses on Input with robust Output, which means that countries that have poor institutions, lack human capital and infrastructure, and which have low market and business sophistication will naturally sore higher if they can innovate at all.  What is perhaps most surprising, however, is that many of the top 25 overall also scored very well on innovation efficiency.

 1.  China  Mali
 2.  India  Slovenia
 3.  Moldova Republic  20.  Czech Republic
 4.  Malta  Jordan
 5.  Switzerland  22.  Nepal
 6.  Paraguay  23.  Cote d’ Ivoire
 7.  Serbia  24.  Iceland
 8.  Estonia  Luxembourg
 9.  Netherlands  Finland
 10.  Sri Lanka  Ecuador
 11.  Germany  Latvia
 12.  Switzerland  Indonesia
 Ukraine  Guyana
 Pakistan  Viet Nam
 15.  Senegal  Philippines
 16.  Nigeria  Zambia

The Under Performers

New this year in the GII is a figure showing the countries that are “Leaders”, “Learners” and “Underperformers.”  The figures plots overall GII scores against GDP per capita.  What becomes apparent by doing this are the countries that are ahead based on GDP per capita, those that are in the middle and those that are below what would be expected given the state of development of the economy.  There are few, if any, surprises on this list.  Many wealthy nations in the Middle East (Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia) are under performing, as are less wealthy Middle Eastern nations (Egypt, Iran, Syria). Also on the under performing list are Mexico, Venezuela, Greece and Sudan.  In other words, the more likely the nation is to be on the evening news in not so laudatory terms the more likely it seems that the country is under performing in terms of innovation generally.  Not at all surprising really.


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Join the Discussion

One comment so far.

  • [Avatar for MaxDrei]
    July 6, 2012 01:59 pm

    I’m reminded of the Olympic Games Medal Table. The alternative one. You know, the one that creates a level playing field by taking the number of medals per country, dividing by the number of citizens of that country, then dividing by the GNP of that country.

    Not sure how it works out currently, with China’s GNP now so much bigger than it used to be but, in the past, it delivered a Table in which the USA was in last place.

    So what do we take from that? Perhaps that you can get any result you want, just by selecting the methodology judiciously.