What can the world’s most innovative countries teach the rest of the world? The Global Innovation Index, jointly launched this month in Geneva by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) gives some hints about the path to create a culture of innovation.

Bruno Lanvin, from Insead, presents the results of Global Innovation Index
Bruno Lanvin, from Insead, presents the results of Global Innovation Index

Innovation is not exclusive to developed countries; that is the most important Global Innovation Index (GII) conclusion. The Index is best known for its ranking of the world’s 25 most innovative economies. This elite, lead by rich Switzerland, Sweden, UK and the United States, also counts middle income members like China – this 9th edition’s newcomer.

The GII analyzed 128 countries based on 82 indicators, including data, ranks, strengths and weaknesses – and despite China’s rise, there is still room for other middle income countries. “An ‘innovation divide’ persists between developed and developing countries amid increasing awareness among policymakers that fostering innovation is crucial to a vibrant, competitive economy”, states the GII report. 

According to the Index, innovation requires stability on policies and continuous investment, irrespective of governments or political beliefs. Expenditure on research and development is a good example – these are key investments to ensure long-term economic growth, especially in the current economic climate.

Education and research are also critical features of innovation – factors as number of scientific publications and international patent filings stand out among top innovators. Says Soumitra Dutta, Dean of Cornell College of Business and co-editor of the report: “Investing in improving innovation quality is essential for closing the innovation divide. While institutions create an essential supportive framework for doing so, economies need to focus on reforming education and growing their research capabilities to compete successfully in a rapidly changing globalized world.”

Infographic GII

Winning with Global Innovation

One of the conclusions of the report is that innovation has no borders as the GII points out the increasing share of disruption lead by globalized networks. For this reason, cross-border information and talent flow are on the rise, fostering global economic growth. “On the one hand, more emerging countries are becoming successful innovators, and on the other hand, an increasing share of innovation benefits stems from cross-border cooperation”, explains Bruno Lanvin, INSEAD Executive Director for Global Indices.

In order to improve this collaboration, innovation policies should be more clear and open to international exchanges and diffusion of knowledge across borders. According to the GII, digital has become a primary driver of this “revolution”, although we are only at the beginning. “Realizing success in today’s new landscape requires creative, forward-thinking strategies that embrace digital and address the need to change the fundamental ways of working”, says Johan Aurik, Managing Partner and Chairman of the A.T consultancy, one of the partners of GII.

Written by Vívian Soares

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