This graphic reveals the most innovative countries for 2019

A strong showing from Asia.

3 September 2019

Gemma Conroy

Ashley Viens/Visual Capitalist

The new Global Innovation Index report is out, and Switzerland takes first place for the ninth year running.

Published by Cornell University, graduate business school, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization in partnership with other institutions, the report’s top 10 has remained particularly stable over the years.

But movement below the upper echelons are sparking interest, as several Asian economies South Korea, Hong Kong, China and Japan are clustered just outside the top ten.

“While it will take time, it is the case that Asian economies are on the heels of established innovators,” Anand Kulkarni writes at University World News. “Beyond this are the solid positions of other Asian nations: Malaysia (ranked 35), Vietnam (42) and Thailand (43).”

By other measures, such as the recently released Bloomberg Innovation Index, South Korean innovation comes out on top.

Now in its seventh year, the Bloomberg Innovation Index measures innovation in 95 countries using seven key metrics, including R&D spending, patent activity, productivity and manufacturing output.

Its rankings this year include six countries that also feature in the top 10 of the Nature Index 2019 Annual Tables, which track articles published in 82 high-quality journals in the natural sciences.

As you can see in the infographic below, while South Korea retained the top score overall, Germany was a close runner-up, jumping two places up the ranks since the previous year. The United States made a return to the top 10 in eighth place, a three-spot leap from the previous year.

Israel made an impressive leap up the ranks, raising five spots to take fifth place among Bloomberg’s global innovators.

South Korea was also the most generous investor in innovative technologies, spending 4.3% of its gross domestic product on R&D. It was also a big R&D spender in Clarivate’s 2019 G20 scorecards, an annual measure that ranks research performance of countries dominating the global economy.

While the US and China were the largest producers of patents, Singapore prioritized education, spending 20% of its annual budget on the sector. By contrast, the US spends just 2% in this area.

According to Bloomberg’s productivity metric, Ireland was the most productive nation followed by Iceland and Luxembourg.

Explore the infographic by Ashley Viens at Visual Capitalist below, and see the high-res version here.

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