The report which shows an innovation-divide between developed and developing countries, has chosen to focus on the human factor in innovation.

news Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | July 20, 2014 | 2:32 PM IST 

Switzerland is the most innovative country among a group of 143 countries surveyed for a report that was launched in Sydney this weekend as part of Australia’s preparations as host of the annual Group of 20 (G-20) summit in November this year.

India is ranked 76th and Sudan brought up the rear. Switzerland is followed by the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands making Europe the most innovative region in the world. BRICS countries fare unevenly with China distancing itself significantly from the rest. 

The Global Innovation Index (GII) co-published by the Geneva-based UN World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Cornell University and the business school INSEAD says most of the top innovating countries “have one thing in common: a strong collaboration and linkages between the private sector and the public sector such as universities to translate research into tangible innovations on the marketplace.” 

The report which shows an innovation-divide between developed and developing countries, has chosen to focus on the human factor in innovation. 

The report is a timely read for India about the need to create not just top universities and institutions but also link them to cutting-edge research centres with the private sector being closely involved in the design and development of such eco-systems. Switzerland which holds the pole position for the 4th time in a row is a fine example of the development of such eco-systems – it’s major stumbling block is the ease with which businesses can be created as well as investments in the public sector. 

Launched first by the Paris-based INSEAD in 2007, 81 indicators have been factored into the data which analyses what it calls innovation input and innovation output. The former looks at the regulatory, political and business environments, human capital and resources (education levels and research work), infrastructure and market including business sophistication. 

The output data-base looks at knowledge creation such as applications for patents, scientific and technical articles published in peer-reviewed journals and the diffusion of knowledge. The GII also examines creative outputs such as trade-mark applications by residents and cultural and creative outputs. 

India’s ranking has slipped but given the overall state of its economic development, the country is doing better than expected on innovation, the report says. Similar to China, India scores better on the output side when compared to inputs and some of the highlights are the quality of its universities and publications, innovation clusters, communication and computer and information services exports. 

China ranked 29 is consistently improving and the report says that the distance between China and other countries in BRICS is steadily increasing. The country increasing its innovation spend on innovation inputs such as expenditure for R&D which result in tangible outcomes such as increased productivity, high-tech production and trade, patents and related knowledge and technology outputs. 

Brazil, for the first time since the survey commenced is among the top five economies in Latin America but its innovation inputs and the innovation environment is not sufficiently streamlined to lead to outputs, the report says. The country is “highly active in absorbing knowledge from abroad via royalties and license fees, imports and other forms that are available to bring in innovation and technology. 

Countries cannot ignore the importance of the human factor which according to the GII is a key condition for innovation. Countries need large, well-educated stock of human capital which can help in the acceleration of technological catch-up, the GII says adding that R&D is “generally unprofitable for firms with low levels of human capital.” The report says internationally mobile students overwhelmingly select North America and Western Europe, contributing in no small measure to innovation in these countries, especially the United States.

Read full report here

Learn about the rankings here 

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