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      Innovation today equals prosperity in the future

      Innovation today equals prosperity in the future

      Switzerland, Sweden and Singapore are the three most innovative countries in the world, according to the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2012. Luxembourg has moved up six places (from 17th to 11th) since 2011. The study ranks 141 countries on the basis of their innovation capabilities and results. It is co-produced by the international business school INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

      The list of overall top 10 performers has changed little since last year. Switzerland, Sweden and Singapore are still followed by Finland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Canada is the only economy leaving the top 10 this year. The report indicates that the USA continues to be an innovation leader but shows shortfalls in areas such as education and human resources. The US is still the regional leader in Northern America, as much as Switzerland is in Europe, Singapore in South East Asia, India in Central and Southern Asia and Chile in Latin America.

      The report highlights a multi-speed Europe, with innovation leaders in Northern and Western Europe, Eastern Europe catching up and Southern Europe lagging behind. Comparing the overall scores to each country’s GDP per capita, the report identifies three groups of countries. Among the “innovation leaders” are high-income countries such as Singapore, the US, the Nordic countries, Switzerland and Luxembourg. These countries have succeeded in creating ecosystems where investments in human capital thrive in stable infrastructures favourable to knowledge and creative outputs.

      The group of “innovation learners” includes Latvia, Serbia, Malaysia and India. These economies demonstrate rising levels of innovation achievements as a result of improvements in infrastructure, an increasingly skilled labour force and a deeper integration with global financial markets. Last but not least, “innovation underperformers” are countries with weaknesses in their innovation systems.

      Luxembourg, which belongs in the “innovation leaders” group, has improved greatly from its already high position on the list. It has moved up six positions since the last study in 2011 and is now in 11th place. Luxembourg fares better than its neighbouring countries Germany (15th), Belgium (20th) and France (24th). During the presentation of the 2012 Global Innovation Index, Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), issued a couple of messages worth thinking about.

      He said that the downward pressure on investment in innovation exerted by the current crisis must be resisted and advised that innovation be kept free of political bantering. He argued that innovation was too important as an economic and social phenomenon to be overly politicised. Innovation is about promoting social transformation, poverty reduction and job creation. CW