The just published Global Innovation Index 2021 of WIPO shows new shifts in innovation performance. Republic of Korea is listed in the top 5 for the first time, and China improves to 12th place among the most innovative nations. Germany reaches 10th place – behind Denmark. Europe and the USA are strong, and Asia is catching up rapidly.
Innovation and economic-social development
The Global Innovation Index II evaluates about 130 economies on the basis of this year’s 81 indicators. Among other things, the registration rates for intellectual property, the number of researchers and institutions, scientific publications and even education expenditures (e.g. the Pisa results are also included) are considered and evaluated. The classification of economies, for example, was done according to the World Bank Income Group Classification of June 2020.
In this respect, the Global Innovation Index II not only presents patent and trademark applications, but also looks at the economic and social development of the nations studied.
In the 2021 statistics, Switzerland, Sweden, the United States – and also the United Kingdom – receive special extra praise as conspicuously innovative countries. These nations have consistently ranked among the top 5 in innovation over the last three years.
In any case, the majority of the 25 most innovative economies from the Global Innovation Index II come from Europe – as before. Special mention goes to France (11th) and Estonia (21st), both countries showing remarkable progress according to the Innovation Index. And the USA is still strongly positioned in 3rd place.
But Asia is catching up in leaps and bounds. Five Asian economies are in the top 15 – the Republic of Korea (with a very good 5th place) and Singapore (8th) are in the top 10, followed by China (12th), Japan (13th) and Hong Kong/ China (14th).
Top 10: Globaler Innovationsindex 2021
- United States of America
- United Kingdom
- Republic of Korea
China is special- strong growth in patent applications
China remains the only middle-income economy among the 30 most innovative economies in the world. In addition, China stands out for its particular innovative strength in individual fields. For example, patent applications reached a new all-time high in 2020 – an increase of 3.5 percent – despite production losses due to the Corona situation. This was driven by particularly rapid and strong growth from China (+16 per cent). The Republic of Korea and the United States also recorded solid growth, but most European economies and also Japan filed fewer patents.
In addition, TVIP countries (Turkey, Vietnam, India and the Philippines) are systematically catching up in innovation performance, all particularly large economies that the report believes can change the global innovation landscape. For example, Turkey (41st), Thailand (43rd) and Vietnam (44th) are listed among the top 50 in the Global Innovation Index II for the first time, while India (46th) had already achieved this before and this year also stands out due to the Mumbai and Delhi regions as special innovation centres for science and technology.
Overall, the Asian region shows itself to be extremely innovative, especially in comparison with Latin America and Africa. Only individual nations from these regions are singled out for their innovation, these being Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil (still among the TOP 60 of the Innovation Index). Chile, Mexico and, on the African continent, South Africa and Rwanda also receive special praise – as do the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United Arab Emirates with their individually strong performance in innovation.
Technology fields of patent applications
According to the Global Innovation Index II, the most dynamic technology fields in 2020 were medical technology, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. This differs from previous years, when digital communications, computer technology and audiovisual technology were the fields in which the most patents were filed. This year’s trend is due to the Corona situation, the study authors speculate, but the trend towards medical technology, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology is not a flash in the pan, but rather people have become more conscious of protecting knowledge in these areas.
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