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[BOGOTA] The dynamics of global innovation are changing as a result of the activities of emerging economies, according to The Global Innovation Index 2012.

Countries like China, India – and even Paraguay and Sri Lanka – show that while innovative activity generally increases with income levels, good results can be achieved using their own innovation models.

The innovation report, which was released last month by the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD) in France, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland, evaluated 141 countries.

It highlighted strong performances in innovation by several emerging economies, including China, Ghana, India, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Namibia, Paraguay, Senegal, Swaziland, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Innovation inputs, such as economic policies, and innovation outputs resulting from innovation activities within the economy, were both measured.

"The index measures both current innovation as well as potential future innovation," Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, a WIPO senior economic officer told SciDev.Net.

Wunsch-Vincent said one of the most striking results this year was increased levels of innovation from lower- and middle-income countries, as a result of "improvements in institutional frameworks, skilled and educated labour forces, better innovation infrastructures, and a sophisticated business community."

The index is based on 84 indicators, including human capital, research infrastructure, market and business sophistication, and knowledge creation. It goes beyond the number of scientific publications and patents — where the most advanced countries dominate — to focus on a broader measure of innovation.

This year, new indicators on ecological sustainability and online creativity were also included.

European countries and North American countries continue to dominate the top 12 places, although these also include Singapore – which is top in South East Asia and Oceania – and Hong Kong (which is listed separately from China

Israel comes top in North Africa and West Asia, Chile in Latin America and the Caribbean, India in South and Central Asia and Mauritius in Sub-Saharan Africa, with South Africa second.  

Colombia climbed six places to 65th, behind Chile — which scored relatively high on both political environment (34th) and regulatory environment (25th) — and Brazil.

In contrast, Venezuela fell 16 places to 118th, reflecting low scores on government effectiveness, business environment, and market sophistication.

Jorge Alfonso Cano, director of technology development and innovation at Colombia’s Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation (Colciencias), told SciDev.Net that the results in Latin America reflected decisions made in that region over the last decade.

For example, he said, Colombia had built a culture of innovation, a co-financing model between employers and the state, and increased tax benefits for innovative companies.

Paraguay, although only ranked 84th, was placed in the top 10 in the 'Innovation Efficiency Index' of countries that have overcome relative weaknesses in inputs with robust output — or "achieved more with less".

Since 2006, Paraguay has invested considerable effort and funds in its development support programme in science technology and innovation, with support from the Inter-American Development Bank, said Cano.