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Europe dominates: Switzerland, Sweden, UK top 2016 Global Innovation Index

Being internally focused is no longer a winning strategy for countries: Innovation is a globally collaborative effort.

The Global Innovation Index 2016: Winning with Global Innovation is a collaboration between Cornell University, the INSEAD international business school, and the World Intellectual Property Organization and has just been released. The index measures the innovation potential and performance of 128 countries.

The theme this year is “Winning through global innovation,” noting the increasing tendency of innovation to come increasingly from collaboration through globalized innovation networks, shared via “cross-border flows of knowledge and talent ….” So, yeah, they’re singing from the Dispatches Europe hymn book.

For 2016, European countries own seven of the top 10 slots. Moreover, 15 of the top 25 economies in the Global Innovation Index come from Europe. Switzerland is rated the most innovative for the sixth year in a row on the 9-year-old index. But the report notes that China is increasingly an innovation force to be reckoned with, placing No. 25 on this year’s list, the first” middle-income” developing country to make the list alongside the wealthy highly developed economies, according to Francis Gurry, director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

China makes innovation a “key part” of its economic strategy, according to the report.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 7.08.33 PMThe top 5 GII rankings are:

No. 1 Switzerland, with a score of 66.3

No. 2 Sweden, 63.6

No. 3 United Kingdom, 61.9

No. 4 United States, 61.4

No. 5 Finland, 59.9

(You can see the Top 20 list at right.)


From the report:

Johan Aurik, Managing Partner and Chairman of GII Knowledge Partner A.T. Kearney, the global consultancy, says: “Digital has become a primary driver of strategy development and innovation for business in almost all sectors; I am convinced we are only at the beginning. Notably for established organizations, the challenge lies in finding ways to successfully innovate by using and transforming existing resources and business practices. 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 in the company.”

The Global Innovation Index bases rankings on 82 indicators, including “innovation quality” measuring the caliber of a country’s universities, number of scientific publications and international patent filings. Also included in the rankings are how easy it is to start a business, political environment, education, infrastructure and market sophistication.

With ETH Zurich and other world-class universities, as well as the most sophisticated economy in the world, it’s not surprising Switzerland has ruled the list for years. The graphics are pretty gee-whiz, and you can get a complete breakdown of each country’s ranking, as well as compare two nations, here.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 8.21.38 AMHere’s an explanation of the methodology from the report:

The Global Innovation Index (GII) is an evolving project that builds on its previous editions while incorporating newly available data and that is inspired by the latest research on the measurement of innovation. The GII relies on two sub-indices—the Innovation Input Sub-Index and the Innovation Output Sub-Index—each built around key pillars.

Five input pillars capture elements of the national economy that enable innovative activities: (1) Institutions, (2) Human capital and research, (3) Infrastructure, (4) Market sophistication, and (5) Business sophistication. Two output pillars capture actual evidence of innovation outputs: (6) Knowledge and technology outputs and (7) Creative outputs.

Each pillar is divided into sub-pillars and each sub-pillar is composed of individual indicators (82 in total in 2016). Sub-pillar scores are calculated as the weighted average of individual indicators; pillar scores are calculated as the weighted average of sub-pillar scores.

Four measures are then calculated:

  • Innovation Input Sub-Index: is the simple average of the first five pillar scores
  • Innovation Output Sub-Index is the simple average of the last two pillar scores
  • The overall GII score is the simple average of the Input and Output Sub-Indices
  • The Innovation Efficiency Ratio is the ratio of the Output Sub-Index over the Input Sub-Index

About the collaborators:

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York: The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University is a leader in innovative business education for the connected world. Consistently ranked as one of the top business schools in the world, Johnson offers six MBA programs, spanning the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Mexico, and China.

INSEAD: With campuses in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore) and Middle East (Abu Dhabi), INSEAD’s business education and research spans three continents. Our 148 renowned faculty members from 40 countries inspire more than 1,300 students in our degree and PhD programs. In addition, more than 9,500 executives participate in INSEAD’s executive education programs each year. In 2016, all three of INSEAD’s MBA programs are ranked #1 by the Financial Times in their categories: MBA, Executive MBA and Single School Executive MBA. More information about INSEAD can be found

• The World Intellectual Property Organization: The WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property policy, services, information and cooperation. A specialized agency of the United Nations, WIPO assists its 189 member states in developing a balanced international IP legal framework to meet society’s evolving needs. It provides business services for obtaining IP rights in multiple countries and resolving disputes. It delivers capacity-building programs to help developing countries benefit from using IP. And it provides free access to unique knowledge banks of IP information.


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