Recently, I wrote about the annual 2013 Global Innovation Index (GII 2013), composed by Cornell University, European Institute of Business Administration and World Intellectual Property Organization, that ranked 142 world countries’ innovation capabilities and achievements. I made a curious observation that the top of the GII 2013 list was almost identical to the top of the 2013 Freedom of the World Report ranking democratic credentials of the world’s countries. That means that the ability of a country to innovate strongly correlates with the presence in this country of developed democratic institutions. Or, putting this differently: to be innovative, you have to live in a free country.
Time flies, and the 2014 Global Innovation Index is out. This year, it profiles 143 countries using 81 indicators gauging elements of the national economies related to innovation activities (institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, etc.).
So, what has changed on the Innovation Olympus since last year? Not much. Like a year before, Switzerland tops the list of the world’s innovation leaders, a position that this country of only eight million people has been holding since 2011. Four countries that were in the top six last year–the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland and Netherland–are still there, just having swapped places with each other a bit.
The United States occupies the 6th position, dropping from the 5th in 2013. Does this support the often expressed opinion that the U.S. is losing its innovation edge? Not yet, at least as the GII is concerned: in 2011 the U.S. was in the 7th place and in 2012 even in the 10th.
Let’s wait and see, and not only for the GII 2015, but for other indexes and indicators as well. But for now, it seems that the state of our innovation is strong.