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Global Innovation Index 2021: How has innovation evolved this year?
26 Oct 2021

Global Innovation Index 2021: How has innovation evolved this year?

In an ever changing world, innovation is the key to adapting to circumstances and growing, either as a company, a country or any type of organization. In this regard, the updated Global Innovation Index for 2021 has just been published. Below, we break down its results and take a look at the role played by governments. 

The latest global index update

Published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the index gives a current snapshot of 132 countries. It provides us with a measure of the rate at which the world is progressing in terms of innovation. Moreover, according to the report, governments have proportionally increased investment in this area in recent times. 

Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has upset the balance between expected and achieved results. Nonetheless, the organization recognizes that this has made it possible to spotlight the human capacity for "ingenuity, resilience and adaptability"; a positive approach, very much in line with what is needed at this time. 

Switzerland, Sweden and the United States lead the ranking

An analysis of the top positions reveals that Switzerland leads the World Innovation Index. It is closely followed by Sweden and the United States, which also maintain their 2020 ranking. Once again, European countries rank best, accounting for 12 of the top 20 positions. However, as the report states, the pandemic has greatly changed the table, China being a good example, its agile post-pandemic economic recovery has seen it enter the top 3 in its region.

What are the main report takeaways?

The first one, according to the WIPO, has far-reaching consequences. Namely, that the trend is towards decreasing dynamism, a state of affairs the WIPO has been warning about for years. The first world countries continue to improve their ranking to the detriment of those with fewer opportunities. Indeed, if we look at the top 3 of the most innovative low-income countries, we find promising cases such as those of Rwanda, Tajikistan and Malawi, yet none of these figure among the top 100 in the full list. 

Government investments and incentives continue to be the main source of national financing for innovation. In what way? According to the report, there are four fundamental channels

  1. Human capital and research; 
  2. Infrastructure; 
  3. Market optimization; 
  4. Increase in business competitiveness. 

On the other hand, some countries are making innovation their main source of development. There are several middle-income countries among these, such as Vietnam, the Philippines and Turkey. 

The data are clear: developing a patent strategy is more important than ever.

As can be seen, the Global Innovation Index continues on the optimistic path it has taken for some years now. Nonetheless, it is imperative to continue exploring new avenues to avoid a slowdown. Furthermore, developing countries need to be integrated into the global innovation landscape. At SHIP we can help, by managing an effective patent strategy and making it the key to success.  


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