The World’s Most Innovative Countries

wazoku Blog

Innovation aimed growth no longer is a goal for just highly developed wealthy countries. Middle-income and fast developing countries are catching up faster than ever before, but still need to make one final leap forwards.


Many countries wanting to get more invested in innovative techniques are drawing their ideals from their own perceptions of Silicon Valley in California, drawing inspiration from the Apples and Googles that inhabit it. But the point needs to be made that this was only possible due to significant support from government schemes such as investment in universities and research labs.

To improve these ‘hubs’ of innovation, you firstly need government backing through policies. Tax exemptions, grants and funding are prime examples of schemes that would drive people to work within such areas. Secondly, as Jean Monnet, one of the founders of the European Union famously said, “Nothing starts without people, nothing lasts without institutions.” Innovators need political stability, streamlined tax structures, inter-agency cooperation, supportive research institutions and fluid links between public researchers and private companies. And lastly, taking risks needs to be shown as an attractive option.

So, onto the Global Innovation Index. Once again the Swiss prove their worth, for the 5th year in a row. The Swiss structure includes a strong emphasis on vocational education. You can find the full report here

1. Switzerland
2. United Kingdom
3. Sweden
4. Netherlands
5. United States
6. Finland
7. Singapore
8. Ireland
9. Luxembourg
10. Denmark

The report is measured by so-called “innovation achievers”, which are companies that perform 10% or more above the average set by their peers in the same income group. Noticeable ranking improvements outside of the top 10, however, come from lower income groups, from economies such as China, Malaysia, India and Morocco, due to improvements in institutional frameworks, improved infrastructure and deeper investments to global trade markets.

The proliferation of cheap and simple technology is helping such countries. While gaps remain in overall innovation performance between rich and poor countries, the technology gap is narrowing. This is due to the fact that recent new technologies are globalised from the start, such as 3D printing, cloud computing, and big data analytics, lowering production and labour costs for firms in emerging countries.

So the gap is closing, showing wealthy countries, just like successful companies, have no time to stagnate, and will have to work just as hard to stay ahead as those fighting to catch up.

You also might be interested in our upcoming report : Everyday Innovation. Working with industry experts, we aim to deconstruct what Innovation really means, and show you our own best practices, and how to stay ahead of the market through the power of innovation.