Global Innovation Index 2019: How Does Your Home Nation Rank?

What is the world’s most innovative country? It seems like an impossible question to answer but thankfully it has already been done for us. 

The Global Innovation Index has been compiled and released every year since 2007 and is seen as the de facto method of ranking economies by innovation around the world. 

Let’s take a look at their most recent findings for 2019. 

The Global Innovation Index, now in its 12th edition, is produced each year in a collaboration between Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) – – a specialized agency of the United Nations. Since it was first launched in 2007, GLL is now widely recognized as the leading benchmark tool for business executives, policymakers and others seeking insight into the state of innovation around the world.

It ranks 129 economies based on over 80 indicators from traditional measurements like research and development output, international patent and trademark applications to things like mobile-phone app creation and high-tech exports. 

“The GII shows us that countries that prioritize innovation in their policies have seen significant increases in their rankings,” WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said. “The rise in the GII by economic powerhouses like China and India has transformed the geography of innovation and this reflects deliberate policy action to promote innovation,” he added.

The GII study is produced with the aid of the expertise of various organizations including:

“The core of the GII Report consists of a ranking of world economies’ innovation capabilities and results. Recognizing the key role of innovation as a driver of economic growth and prosperity, and the need for a broad vision of innovation applicable to developed and emerging economies, the GII includes indicators that go beyond the traditional measures of innovation, such as the level of research and development.” – WIPO.

The 2019 Index has the theme “Creating Healthy Lives – The Future of Medical Innovation.” In its healthcare themed section, the GII specifically looked at how medical innovation, including how artificial intelligence (AI), genomics, and mobile-phone-based health applications are transforming the nature of healthcare in an economy. 

Innovation in the medical sciences is, in GII’s view, incredibly important for society and nation. Bruno Lanvin, INSEAD Executive Director for Global Indices, explains: –

“Innovation in the field of health is now being increasingly driven by data (Internet of Things) and artificial intelligence, in both diagnosis and prognosis. Unprecedented challenges need urgent attention in ethical, social and economic dimensions. As the power of medical decisions moves farther away from medical professions, regulators, governments, businesses, and civil society need to establish limits to the ways in which the holders of big data and advanced algorithms can make or influence health decisions. In the absence of swift action, innovation in health and medicine may become a significant source of inequality,”

How is innovation measured on the GII?

The GII has developed a suite of 80 indicators to rank each economy. These indicators have been standardized and form a continual evaluation over time.  

Some of its key features are: 

“The GII 2019 is calculated as the average of two sub-indices. The Innovation Input Sub-Index gauges elements of the national economy which embody innovative activities grouped in five pillars:

The Innovation Output Sub-Index captures actual evidence of innovation results, divided into two pillars:

For the ninth consecutive year, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission audited the GII calculations.” – WIPO.

What are the most innovative countries in the world in 2019?

According to the 2019 GII, the top 20 most innovative countries are as follows: –

The bottom ten economies were were as follows: 

Their other key findings, which can be found in Annex II of the report, were as follows: –

“While the Global Innovation Index ranks economies according to their innovation capacity and performance, it also provides valuable insights into the dynamics of global innovation: It highlights economies that excel in innovation and those that are more successful in translating investments in innovation inputs into innovation outputs. Lessons from these innovation leaders provide useful guidance on innovation policy for others,” said Soumitra Dutta, Former Dean and Professor of Management at Cornell University, a GII co-publisher.