Global Innovation Index 2017: India, Kenya and Vietnam outperforming peers

According to Global Innovation Index 2017, India, Kenya, and Vietnam are outperforming their development-level peers.

India, 60th globally, is the top-ranked economy in Central and Southern Asia and has now outperformed on innovation relative to its GDP per capita for seven years in a row. India has shown improvement in most areas, including in infrastructure, business sophistication, knowledge and technology and creative outputs.

India ranks 14th overall in the presence of global R&D companies, considerably better than comparable groups of lower- and upper-middle-income economies. India also surpasses most other middle-income economies in science and engineering graduates, gross capital formation, GERD performed by business, research talent, on the input side; quality of scientific publications, growth rate of GDP per worker, high-tech and ICT services exports, creative goods exports, high-tech manufactures, and IP receipts on the output side.

“Public policy plays a pivotal role in creating an enabling environment conducive to innovation. In the last two years, we have seen important activities around the GII in India like the formation of India’s high-level Task Force on Innovation and consultative exercises on both innovation policy and better innovation metrics,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry.

Key findings show the rise of India as an emerging innovation center in Asia whereas Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the USA and the UK are the world’s most-innovative countries.

In 2017, Switzerland leads the rankings for the seventh consecutive year, with high-income economies taking 24 of the top 25 spots – China is the exception at 22.

Next to innovation powerhouses such as China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, a group of Asian economies including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam are actively working to improve their innovation ecosystems and rank high in a number of important indicators related to education, R&D, productivity growth, high-tech exports, among others.

“Innovation is the engine of economic growth in an increasingly knowledge-based global economy, but more investment is needed to help boost human creativity and economic output,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.

“We are already witnessing the rapid, worldwide emergence of ‘digital agriculture,’ which includes drones, satellite-based sensors and field robotics,” said Bruno Lanvin, INSEAD Executive Director for Global Indices.

“Now there is an urgent need for ‘smart agriculture’ to optimize supply and distribution chains and foster creative new business models that minimize pressure on land, energy and other natural resources – while addressing the needs of the world’s poorest,” added Lanvin.

“By 2050, the world’s population is estimated to reach 9.7 billion. This presents the global agricultural sector with a daunting challenge. The stage has been set for a potential global food crisis if policy makers and other stakeholders fail to implement agricultural innovation that significantly boosts productivity,” said Barry Jaruzelski, Principal at Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business.

In North Amercian countries, USA (4th overall) and Canada (18th globally) have excelled thanks to financial markets and intensity of venture capital activity, which help stimulate private-sector economic activity. The U.S. strengths also include the presence of high-quality universities and firms conducting global R&D, quality of scientific publications, software spending, and the state of its innovation clusters. Canada excels in ease of starting a business and quality of scientific publications, while its political, regulatory and business environment draw top marks.

In Europe, 15 of the top 25 global economies are in Europe. Europe is particularly strong in human capital and research, infrastructure, business sophistication.

In South East Asia, East Asia, and Oceania, the Republic of Korea maintains its top overall rankings in patenting and other IP-related indicators, while ranking second in human capital and research, with its business sector contributing significantly to R&D efforts. Japan, ranked third in the region, is in the top 10 global economies for R&D, information and communication technologies, trade, competition, market scale, knowledge absorption, creation, and diffusion.

China continues moving ahead in the overall GII ranking (22nd overall this year), reflecting high scores in business sophistication and knowledge and technology outputs. China this year displays a strong performance in several indicators, including the presence of global R&D companies, research talent in business enterprise, patent applications and other IP‐related variables.

Within the Association of East Asian Nations (ASEAN) grouping, Singapore is the top performer in most of the indicators, with a few notable exceptions: ICT services exports, where the Philippines leads, and expenditure on education, where Vietnam leads. Vietnam shows the second best rank of the region in expenditure on education and also performs well in labor productivity growth, economy-wide investment, and foreign direct investment net inflows.

In Northern Africa and Western Asia, Israel (17th overall) and Cyprus (30th overall) achieve the top two spots in the region for the fifth consecutive year. Israel has shown improvement in gross expenditure on R&D and ICT services exports, while keeping its top spots worldwide in researchers, venture capital deals, GERD performed by business, and research talent in business enterprise.

Third in the region is the United Arab Emirates (35th globally), which benefits from increased data availability and shows strengths in tertiary inbound mobility, innovation clusters and ICT-driven business model innovation.

The largest economies in Latin America and the Caribbean (Chile, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina) show particular strengths in institutions, infrastructure, and business sophistication. Chile, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina perform well in areas of human capital and research such as the quality of universities, tertiary education enrollment, and presence of global R&D companies, as well as in information and communications technology, thanks to their high scores in government’s online services and online participation.

Sub-Saharan Africa draws its highest scores in institutions and market sophistication, where economies such as Mauritius, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Rwanda, and Burkina Faso perform on par or better than some of their development-level peers in Europe and South East Asia, East Asia and Oceania.

Since 2012, Sub-Saharan Africa has counted more “innovation achiever” countries than any other region. Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique, Uganda, Malawi, Madagascar and Senegal stand out for being innovation achievers this year, and several times in the previous years.

The Global Innovation Index 2017 (GII), in its 10th edition this year, is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO, a specialized agency of the United Nations).

This year’s study benefits from the experience of its Knowledge Partners, Confederation of Indian Industry, PwC’s Strategy and the National Confederation of Industry (CNI) and Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae), as well as of an Advisory Board of international experts. Each year, the GII surveys some 130 economies using dozens of metrics, from patent filings to education spending providing decision makers a high-level look at the innovative activity that increasingly drives economic and social growth.

The GII 2017 is calculated as the average of two sub-indices. The Innovation Input Sub-Index gauges elements of the national economy which embody innovative activities grouped in five pillars: (1) Institutions, (2) Human capital and research, (3) Infrastructure, (4) Market sophistication, and (5) Business sophistication. The Innovation Output Sub-Index captures actual evidence of innovation results, divided in two pillars: (6) Knowledge and technology outputs and (7) Creative outputs.

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