Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization recently released The Global Innovation Index for 2013 (GII). The top 25 countries are provided below:

Global Innovation Index

Country/Economy Score(0-100) Rank
Switzerland 66.59 1
Sweden 61.36 2
United Kingdom 61.25 3
Netherlands 61.14 4
United States of America 60.31 5
Finland 59.51 6
Hong Kong (China) 59.43 7
Singapore 59.41 8
Denmark 58.34 9
Ireland 57.91 10
Canada 57.60 11
Luxembourg 56.57 12
Iceland 56.40 13
Israel 55.98 14
Germany 55.83 15
Norway 55.64 16
New Zealand 54.46 17
Korea, Rep. 53.31 18
Australia 53.07 19
France 52.83 20
Belgium 52.49 21
Japan 52.23 22
Austria 51.87 23
Malta 51.79 24
Estonia 50.60 25

Switzerland and Sweden retained first and second positions in the Index. In 2012 the United States ranked 10th on the Index. This year the U.S. jumped five spots to number 5. The last time the U.S. was in the top five was in 2009 when it was number one.

According to the authors of the GII, the U.S. increased its raking this year due to a strong education base, which includes many of the top-ranked Universities. The U.S. ranks 2nd in the number of top-level Universities behind only the United Kingdom. The U.S. has also increased its spending on software and employment within knowledge-intensive industries.

Increased Global Innovation

The study also indicates an increase in innovation throughout the world. Research and development spending has surpassed 2008 levels despite the global economic crisis. This increase in global innovation is consistent with findings that innovation in the U.S. is reaching record levels and it is likely to lead to greater long-term economic development.

Global Innovation

Global Thinking

Issues with the GII

Before you take the results of the Index to heart, especially the relative rankings, you should consider a few issues. The GII relies upon measures that are difficult to quantify and compare among different countries. For example, the Index uses some measures that are based upon subjective perception, such as “political environment”. These perceptions require application of cultural values that are different in different countries.

The authors of the GII also admit that the evaluation framework of the Index was adjusted this year. 20 indicators were modified and ten indicators were deleted. Therefore, the criteria of the GII has changed and we cannot accurately compare past Index results to the current year’s results.