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Switzerland, UK and Sweden top global innovation rankings

Tue 22 Jul 2014

Three European nations head the league of world leaders in innovation according the UN-backed Global Innovation Index (GII) and are praised for linking their investments in human capital with strong infrastructures to produce high levels of creativity.

The annual GII rankings are published by Cornell University, the business school, INSEAD, and the UN agency, the World Intellectual Property Organization. Published annually since 2007, the GII has established itself as a benchmarking tool for the state of innovation around the world. The GII 2014 surveyed 143 economies on 81 indicators.

These “indicators” include areas such as innovation infrastructure including ICT; their business sophistication such as knowledge workers, innovation linkages and innovation outputs such as creative goods and services and online creativity. The rankings are intended as a tool for measuring and improving innovation performance.

The theme of the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2014 is “The Human Factor in Innovation” and intended to help the “growing interest that firms and governments have shown in identifying and energising creative individuals and teams.”

Francis Gurry, director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), said the GII “recognises the centrality of innovation for a job-rich, strong, sustainable and balanced growth path – as envisioned by the G20 leadership.”

The top three are unchanged on 2013 although the UK has displaced Sweden in second. The USA came in sixth and Singapore wasthe highest ranked Asian nation at seventh with Hong Kong at tenth.

“These GII leaders have created well-linked innovation ecosystems, where investments in human capital combined with strong innovation infrastructures contribute to high levels of creativity,” said the report.

According to the authors the gap between high income and middle income economies was closing. “China significantly outperforms the average score of high-income economies across the combined quality indicators,” they said. “To close the gap even further, middle-income economies must continue to invest in strengthening their innovation ecosystems and closely monitor the quality of their innovation indicators.”

However, they added that the study “confirms the persistence of global innovation divides” with the top 25 nations remaining the same. They observed that less-innovative economies have difficulty keeping up with the rate of progress of higher-ranking economies which was partially explained by “their difficulties to grow and retain the human resources necessary for sustained innovation”.


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