The Great Innovation Race: Where Is Your Country?
By Shlomo Maital
Every summer, the French business school INSEAD, together with Cornell University and WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) publishes the Global Innovation Index – a massive database ranking some 142 nations on ‘innovation’, based on 93 separate indices and variables. Download it at http://globalinnovationindex.org
In the new 2013 edition, countries are grouped into “leaders” (those who innovation index score, relative to GDP per capita, and per capita GDP are both high; “learners” (those whose innovation index is high, and whose GDP per capita is likely to grow in future as a result); and “underperformers” (those whose innovation performance is below par, relative to what their GDP per capita should generate. The results are shown in the diagram above. The ‘y’ axis shows the weighted-average Innovation index score. The ‘x’ axis shows GDP per capita, in dollars, measured in true, purchasing power exchange rates. (For your convenience: the two-letter country codes along with the full country name are shown below).
Switzerland, U.S. and Korea all are among the leaders. Switzerland ranks #1 in global innovation. Few countries have Swiss stability, discipline and order – but all countries can learn from it anyway.
The size of the circle measures population size. Note that the shading of the circle is significant: white means “efficient” (innovation resources are used efficiently to generate innovation outputs) while blue means “inefficient”. The U.S. circle is shaded blue, as is that of Japan and Hong Kong.
Pakistan (PK) is a major underperformer. Malaysia (MY) is about to join the “leaders”. Indonesia (ID) is on the border of the ‘learners’.
This graph reminds us of an important fact. “Look back, because – they are gaining on you.” In the economic value chain, there are nations below your country, who want to rise. If you don’t move up, they will catch you. You need to emulate the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, who ran faster and faster just to stay in the same place.
And – this applies to businesses, and even to MBA’s, as well. They too compete in a Great Innovation Race, even if they don’t always realize it.
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
BRITISH INDIAN OCEAN TERRITORY
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
MICRONESIA, FEDERATED STATES OF
SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS
TAIWAN, PROVINCE OF CHINA