The 50 most innovation friendly countries of the globe

06 October 2015 3 min. read

The UK is the runner up most innovative country in the world, with Switzerland the outright winner, according to the Global Innovation Index. Sweden comes in at number three, the Netherlands four and the US secures fifth place.

The Global Innovation Index, published in a report titled ‘The Global Innovation Index 2015 Effective Innovation Policies for Development’, seeks to identify the most innovative countries and policies that promote innovation. The report is a collaborative effort from a number of different institutions, including those from business as well as government sources. Collaborating on this years’ index among others include Johnson Conrnell University, INSEAD, WIPO and A.T. Kearney.

Innovation index
The Innovation index score is made up of the average across two key metrics along different pillars, representing either innovation inputs or outputs. The input factor captures 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. The output metric provides information about outputs that are the results of innovative activities within the economy: (6) knowledge and technology outputs and (7) creative outputs. Each of these pillars is further divided into sub-pillars which are composed of individual indicators – with a total of 79 indicators used in the development of the index as a whole.

Top 10 innovation countries

Top ten
The report finds that among the top ten performers, not a great deal has changed over recent years. Switzerland remains in the number one spot. The country has the strongest Output Sub-Index, and is represented in the top 25 of almost all indicators. The country benefits from high scores in knowledge & technology outputs (#1) and creative outputs (#3). The UK is the runner up, with strong scores in the market sophistication (#3) and creative outputs (#5). Factors that bring down the country’s score are its institutions (#14) and business sophistication (#13). Individual indicators in which the UK could improve its score within the top 25 are infrastructure (48th), knowledge absorption (30th), and intangible assets (31st). Sweden rounds off the top three and scores very well in knowledge and technology (#2) and creative outputs (#11). The country finds itself within the top 25 of all other metrics except for Trade and competition (#28) and knowledge impact (#28).

The Netherlands comes in at number 4, moving up a spot since last year. The US is fifth also moving up a spot, while Finland moves down two spots to number six. Singapore stays in the number seven spot, while Ireland takes Denmark’s last year’s #8 spot. Luxemburg remains on the number nine spot. Demark comes in at number ten.

Top 11-50 innovation countries

Top 50
The top fifty is made up of a much wider range of countries in terms of their base income level. Whereas the top 20 is made up of mainly Western powers, including, Germany (#12), Iceland (#13), South Korea (#14), New Zealand (#15), Canada (#16) and Australia (#17) Austria (#18), Japan (#19) and Norway (#20), things become more diverse into the 20s.

Eastern European countries, such as Estonia (#23) and Czech Republic (#24) beat out Belgium (#25) and Spain (#27). In the top 30, Malaysia (#32) is only a whisker from Italy (#31). Mauritius (#49) is the only African contenders in the top 50, while the GCC has Saudi Arabia (#44), United Arab Emirates (#47) and Qatar (#50) in the top 50. The Russian Federation (#48) and China (#29) are found relatively far apart – with China, while providing a strong performance, still has some ways to go to catch-up Hong Kong (#11).