Monday, July 11, 2011

The Global Innovation Index 2011

This is a weekly post by Nidhal Guessoum (see his earlier posts here). Nidhal is an astrophysicist and Professor of Physics at American University of Sharjah and is the author of Islam's Quantum Question: Reconciling Muslim Tradition and Modern Science.

The Global Innovation Index for 2011 was released last week. It was produced by INSEAD, a world-renowned international graduate business school and research institution, in collaboration with a number of institutions, including some multi-national companies as well as the World Intellectual Property Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations.
This GII Report covers 125 countries, representing 93.2% of the world’s population and 98.0% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product. It includes 16 countries from the Middle East and North Africa, two of which, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, were ranked overall among the top 40 (26th and 34th, respectively). Other Gulf countries ranked reasonably well: Bahrain (46th), Kuwait (52nd), Saudi Arabia (54th), and Oman (57th), several Arab and/or Muslim-majority states fared miserably: Bangladesh (97th), Pakistan (105th), Syria (115th), Yemen (123rd), and Algeria (125th). 
In the top spots, we find the usual suspects: Switzerland is the most innovative country in the world, gaining three places from its position a year ago, then come Sweden, Singapore Sweden, Singapore, Hong Kong, Finland, Denmark, the USA, Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. China (29th) is the top-ranked emerging economy, while India is ranked 62nd.
Karim Sabbagh, a Senior Partner in this endeavor, was quoted as saying: “The ability to innovate is the great equalizer in the global economy. In the industrial era, nations relied on their natural resources to compete. Today, any country can advance with carefully focused investments in talent and R&D. The performance of some emerging economies in this year's GII shows what nations can accomplish with a focus on building 21st century economies.”
The Global Innovation Index is calculated by averaging scores from a number of “input” indicators, which are supposed to describe the enabling environment for innovation in each country as well as “output” indicators, measuring actual achievements in innovation. Five indicators constitute the Innovation Input Sub-Index: Institutions, Human capital and research, Infrastructure, Market sophistication, and Business sophistication. The Innovation Output Sub-Index is composed of two indicators: Scientific outputs and Creative outputs. The Innovation Efficiency Index, which is calculated as the ratio of the two (Input and Output) Sub-Indices, simply shows the extent to which each state is able to leverage its input factors to extract innovation results.
There are a number of interesting analysis chapters to read, including ‘Making Cities Smart and Sustainable’ and ‘The Global Footprint of Innovation’. But, as usual with such reports, there are loads of data on a variety of indicators, for which a ranking can be produced (online here). Such indicators include: Education expenditure, Pupil-teacher ratio (secondary level), Tertiary enrolment (gross percentage), Graduates in science (percentage), Graduates in engineering (percentage), Researchers headcount (per million), Gross expenditure on R&D (percentage of GDP), Quality of research institutions, Share of renewables in energy use (percentage), Ecological footprint & biocapacity, number of PhDs, research articles produced, research centers created, Quality of research institutions, patents issued, etc.
I invite readers, particularly students, to examine this database from a variety of angles, indicators, etc., and to report their findings. I would especially like to see comparisons between data found in this Report and those (sometimes on the same indicators) that can be found on the websites of the World Bank, the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, and the Global Information Technology Report I recently wrote about.
The full Global Innovation Index 2011 Report can be downloaded here; an Executive Summary can be obtained here

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