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Worldwide Innovation Index 2017: Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, USA, UK Top Annual Ranking

Geneva, June 15, 2017

Released jointly by WIPO, Cornell University, INSEAD & the 2017 GII Knowledge Partners, the Confederation of Indian Industry, PwC’s Strategy& & the National Confederation of Industry (CNI) & Brazilian Micro & Small Business Support Service (Sebrae)

Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the USA & the UK are the world’s most-innovative countries, while a group of nations including India, Kenya, & Viet Nam are outperforming their development-level peers, according to the World Innovation Index 2017 co-authored by Cornell University, INSEAD and the Worldwide Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Video: Press conference Video (Watch on YouTube) | Briefing Video (Watch on YouTube)

Key findings show the rise of India as an emerging innovation center in Asia, high innovation performance in Sub-Saharan Africa relative to development & an opportunity to improve innovation capacity in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Each year, the GII surveys some 130 economies using dozens of metrics, from patent filings to education spending providing decision makers a high-level look at the innovative activity that increasingly drives economic and social growth. In a new feature for the GII, a special section looks at “invention hotspots” Video around the world that show the highest density of inventors listed in intercontinental patent applications.

Now in its tenth edition, the GII 2017 notes a continued gap in innovative capacity between developed & developing nations and lackluster growth rates for research & development (R&D) activities, both at the government & corporate levels. 

“Innovation is the engine of economic growth in an increasingly knowledge-based global economy, but more investment is needed to help boost human creativity & economic output,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “Innovation can help transform the current economic upswing into longer-term growth.”

  1. Switzerland (Number 1 in 2016)
  2. Sweden (2)
  3. Netherlands (9)
  4. United States of America (4)
  5. United Kingdom (3)
  6. Denmark (8)
  7. Singapore (6)
  8. Finland (5)
  9. Germany (10)
  10. Ireland (7)
  11. Republic of Korea (11)
  12. Luxembourg (12)
  13. Iceland (13)
  1. Japan (16)
  2. France (18)
  3. Hong Kong (China) (14)
  4. Israel (21)
  5. Canada (15)
  6. Norway (22)
  7. Austria (20)
  8. New Zealand (17)
  9. China (25)
  10. Australia (19)
  11. Czech Republic (27)
  12. Estonia (24)

In 2017, Switzerland leads the rankings for the seventh consecutive year, with high-income economies taking 24 of the top 25 spots – China is the exception at 22. In 2016, China became the first-ever middle income economy in the top 25.

“Efforts to bridge the innovation divide have to start with helping emerging economies understand their innovation strengths & weaknesses & create appropriate policies & metrics,” said Soumitra Dutta, Dean, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University. “This has been the GII’s purpose for more than ten years now.”

A group of middle & lower-income economies perform significantly better on innovation than their current level of development would predict: A total of 17 economies comprise these ‘innovation achievers’ this year, a slight increase from 2016. In total, nine come from the Sub-Saharan Africa region, including Kenya and Rwanda, & three economies come from Eastern Europe.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry presents the Worldwide Innovation Index 2017 at a press conference taking place at the United Nations Office at Geneva (photo: WIPO).

Next to innovation powerhouses such as China, Japan, & the Republic of Korea, a group of Asian economies including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Viet Nam are actively working to improve their innovation ecosystems and rank high in a number of important indicators related to education, R&D, productivity growth, high-tech exports, among other people.

Video: A special section in this year’s GII looks at “invention hotspots” around the global.

GII 2017 Theme: “Innovation Feeding the World”

The theme of the GII 2017, “Innovation Feeding the Globe,” looks at innovation carried out in agriculture & food systems. Over the next decades, the agriculture and food sector will face an enormous rise in intercontinental demand & increased competition for limited natural resources. In addition, it will need to adapt to & help mitigate climate change. Innovation is key to sustaining the productivity growth required to meet this rising demand & to helping enhance the networks that integrate the sustainable food production, processing, distribution, consumption, & waste management known as food systems.

“We are already witnessing the rapid, global emergence of ‘digital agriculture,’ which includes drones, satellite-based sensors & field robotics,” said Bruno Lanvin, INSEAD Executive Director for Global Indices. “Now there is an urgent need for ‘smart agriculture’ to optimize supply & distribution chains and foster creative new business models that minimize pressure on land, energy and other natural resources – while addressing the needs of the world’s poorest.”

“By 2050, the world’s population is estimated to reach 9.7 billion. This presents the international agricultural sector with a daunting challenge. The stage has been set for a potential global food crisis if policy makers & other stakeholders fail to implement agricultural innovation that significantly boosts productivity,” said Barry Jaruzelski, Principal at Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business.

Regional Innovation Leaders

Region / Rank Country GII 2017 Worldwide Rank
Northern America
1 United States of America 4
2 Canada 18
Sub-Saharan Africa
1 South Africa 57
2 Mauritius 64
3 Kenya 80
Latin America & the Caribbean
1 Chile 46
2 Costa Rica 53
3 Mexico 58
Central and Southern Asia
1 India 60
2 Iran, Islamic Republic of 75
3 Kazakhstan 78
Northern Africa & Western Asia
1 Israel 17
2 Cyprus 30
3 United Arab Emirates 35
South East Asia, East Asia, & Oceania
1 Singapore 7
2 Republic of Korea 11
3 Japan 14
1 Switzerland 1
2 Sweden 2
3 The Netherlands 3

Northern America

Two Northern American countries – USA (4th overall) & Canada (18th globally) – show particularly sophisticated financial markets & intensity of venture capital activity, which help stimulate private-sector economic activity.

The U.S. strengths also include the presence of high-quality universities & firms conducting worldwide R&D, quality of scientific publications, software spending, & the state of its innovation clusters.

Canada excels in ease of starting a business & quality of scientific publications, while its political, regulatory & business environment draw top marks. Canada has logged improvement in its education system.


In this year’s edition of the GII, 15 of the top 25 intercontinental economies are in Europe. Europe is particularly strong in human capital & research, infrastructure, business sophistication.

European economies rank first in almost half the indicators composing the GII, & include knowledge-intensive employment, university/industry research collaboration, patent applications, scientific & technical articles, & quality of scientific publications.

South East Asia, East Asia, & Oceania

The Republic of Korea maintains its top overall rankings in patenting & other IP-related indicators, while ranking second in human capital & research, with its business sector contributing significantly to R&D efforts.

Japan, ranked third in the region, is in the top 10 world economies for research and development, information & communication technologies, trade, competition, market scale, knowledge absorption, creation, & diffusion.

China continues moving ahead in the overall GII ranking (22nd overall this year), reflecting high scores in business sophistication & knowledge & technology outputs. China this year displays a strong performance in several indicators, including the presence of worldwide R&D companies, research talent in business enterprise, patent applications & other IP‐related variables.

Within the Association of East Asian Nations (ASEAN) grouping, Singapore is the top performer in most of the indicators, with a few notable exceptions: ICT services exports, where the Philippines leads, & expenditure on education, where Viet Nam leads.

Thailand’s strengths include creative goods exports & gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) financed by business, where it places 5th & 6th globally.

Viet Nam shows the second best rank of the region in expenditure on education & also performs well in labor productivity growth, economy-wide investment, & foreign direct investment net inflows.

Malaysia ranks well in high-tech imports & exports, university/industry research collaboration, and graduates in science & engineering.

Central & Southern Asia

India, 60th globally, is the top-ranked economy in Central and Southern Asia & has now outperformed on innovation relative to its GDP per capita for seven years in a row. India has shown improvement in most areas, including in infrastructure, business sophistication, knowledge & technology & creative outputs.

India ranks 14th overall in the presence of worldwide R&D companies, considerably better than comparable groups of lower- and upper-middle-income economies. India also surpasses most other middle-income economies in science & engineering graduates, gross capital formation, GERD performed by business, research talent, on the input side; quality of scientific publications, growth rate of GDP per worker, high-tech & ICT services exports, creative goods exports, high-tech manufactures, & IP receipts on the output side.

“Public policy plays a pivotal role in creating an enabling environment conducive to innovation. In the last two years, we have seen important activities around the GII in India like the formation of India’s high-level Task Force on Innovation & consultative exercises on both innovation policy & better innovation metrics,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry.

The Islamic Republic of Iran (75th overall) excels in tertiary education, ranking second in the intercontinental in number of graduates in science & engineering. Tajikistan (94th) is first in the international in microfinance loans, while Kazakhstan (78th) ranks first globally in pupil‐teacher ratio & third in ease of protecting minority investors.

Northern Africa & Western Asia

Israel (17th overall) & Cyprus (30th overall) achieve the top two spots in the region for the fifth consecutive year. Israel has shown improvement in gross expenditure on R&D & ICT services exports, while keeping its top spots globe in researchers, venture capital deals, GERD performed by business, & research talent in business enterprise.

Third in the region is the United Arab Emirates (35th globally), which benefits from increased data availability & shows strengths in tertiary inbound mobility, innovation clusters & ICT-driven business model innovation. Sixteen of the 19 economies in the Northern Africa & Western Asia region are in the top 100 globally, including Turkey (43rd), Qatar (49th), Saudi Arabia (55th), Kuwait (56th), Armenia (59th), Bahrain (66th), Georgia (68th), Morocco (72nd), Tunisia (74th), Oman (77th), Lebanon (81st), Azerbaijan (82nd), & Jordan (83rd).

Latin America & the Caribbean

The largest economies in Latin America & the Caribbean (Chile, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina) show particular strengths in institutions, infrastructure, & business sophistication. Chile, Mexico, Brazil, & Argentina perform well in areas of human capital & research such as the quality of universities, tertiary education enrollment, & presence of globe R&D companies, as well as in information & communications technology, thanks to their high scores in government’s online services and online participation.

The region’s GII rankings have not significantly improved relative to other regions in recent years, & no country in Latin America & the Caribbean currently shows any innovation outperformance relative to its level of development.

“As Latin America, especially Brazil, is returning to positive growth rates, it is crucial to establish the foundations for innovation-driven development, which is the main goal of the Business Mobilization for Innovation (MEI),” said Robson Andrade, president of CNI & Heloisa Menezes, Technical Director of Sebrae.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa draws its highest scores in institutions & market sophistication, where economies such as Mauritius, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Rwanda, & Burkina Faso perform on par or better than some of their development-level peers in Europe & South East Asia, East Asia & Oceania.

Since 2012, Sub-Saharan Africa has counted more “innovation achiever” countries than any other region. Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique, Uganda, Malawi, Madagascar & Senegal stand out for being innovation achievers this year, & several times in the previous years. Burundi and the United Republic of Tanzania become innovation achievers this year. Preserving & building upon this innovation momentum in Sub-Saharan Africa is now key.

GII 2017 regional animation

Video: Top regional leaders according to the International Innovation Index 2017.

About the Worldwide Innovation Index

The Globe Innovation Index 2017 (GII), in its 10th edition this year, is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD, & the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO, a specialized agency of the United Nations).

Published annually since 2007, the GII is now a leading benchmarking tool for business executives, policy makers and other people seeking insight into the state of innovation around the international. Policymakers, business leaders & other stakeholders use the GII to evaluate progress on a continual basis.  This year’s study benefits from the experience of its Knowledge Partners, Confederation of Indian Industry, PwC’s Strategy&, & the National Confederation of Industry (CNI) & Brazilian Micro & Small Business Support Service (Sebrae), as well as of an Advisory Board of global experts.

The core of the GII Report consists of a ranking of intercontinental economies’ innovation capabilities & results. Recognizing the key role of innovation as a driver of economic growth & prosperity, & the need for a broad horizontal vision of innovation applicable to developed & emerging economies, the GII includes indicators that go beyond the traditional measures of innovation such as the level of research & development.

To support the intercontinental innovation debate, to guide polices & to highlight good practices, metrics are required to assess innovation & related policy performance. The GII creates an environment in which innovation factors are under continual evaluation, including the following features:

  • 127 country/economy profiles, including data, ranks, & strengths & weaknesses
  • 81 data tables for indicators from over 30 intercontinental public and private sources, of which 57 are hard data, 19 composite indicators, and 5 survey questions
  • A transparent & replicable computation methodology including 90% confidence intervals for each index ranking (GII, output and input sub-indices) & an analysis of factors affecting year-on-year changes in rankings

The GII 2017 is calculated as the average of two sub-indices. The Innovation Input Sub-Index gauges elements of the national economy which embody innovative activities grouped in five pillars: (1) Institutions, (2) Human capital & research, (3) Infrastructure, (4) Market sophistication, and (5) Business sophistication. The Innovation Output Sub-Index captures actual evidence of innovation results, divided in two pillars: (6) Knowledge & technology outputs and (7) Creative outputs.

The index is submitted to an independent statistical audit by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. To download the full report visit:

Knowledge Partners

The Confederation of Indian Industry, PwC’s Strategy&, & the National Confederation of Industry (CNI) & Brazilian Micro & Small Business Support Service (Sebrae) collaborate as Knowledge Partners in 2017.

Knowledge Partners assume in the role of innovation in increasing the competitiveness of nations, enabling economic growth, driving societal changes & building the foundation of a country’s future.

They are committed to producing a valuable & non-partisan resource. Knowledge Partners support the elaboration of the GII; contribute analytical chapters or case studies to the GII Report; and participate in the discussion & dissemination of the GII results.

About CII

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) works to create & sustain an environment conducive to the growth of industry in India, partnering industry & government alike through advisory and consultative processes. CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led & industry-managed organization, playing a proactive role in India´s development process. Founded in 1895, India’s premier business association has over 8,300 members, from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs & MNCs, & an indirect membership of over 200,000 enterprises from around 250 national & regional sectoral industry bodies.

About Strategy&

Strategy& is a international team of practical strategists committed to helping you seize essential advantage. We do that by working alongside you to solve your toughest problems and helping you capture your greatest opportunities. We bring 100 years of strategy consulting experience & the unrivalled industry & functional capabilities of the PwC network to the task. We are part of the PwC network of firms in 157 countries with more than 223,000 people committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax, & advisory services.

About CNI-Sebrae

The Brazilian National Confederation of Industry (Confederação Nacional da Industria – CNI) is the official & highest-level organization representing Brazilian industry. Since its founding in 1938, CNI has defended domestic business and manufacturing interests, acting as the main interlocutor with the executive, legislative, & judicial branches of government, as well as with various organizations & entities in Brazil & around the world. CNI represents Brazil’s 27 state-level federations of industries & 1,250 sectorial employer’s unions, to which almost 700,000 companies are affiliated with. In addition, it directly administers the following organizations: Social Service of Industry (Serviço Social da Indústria – SESI), the National Service of Industrial Training (Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem Industrial – SENAI) & the Euvaldo Lodi Institute (Instituto Euvaldo Lodi – IEL).

Brazilian Micro & Small Business Support Service – Sebrae – is a non-profit private entity with the mission of promoting the sustainable & competitive development of small businesses. Through its experience has become expert in small business development in Brazil. Its role is to foster entrepreneurship, providing guidance to help small businesses to grow & generate more employment, helping to develop the Brazilian economy. It has a network of almost 700 onsite service centers throughout the country, counting on more than 5,000 small business experts & a large pool of external consultants working towards transferring knowledge & know-how to those who own or intend to start a company.

Press contacts

About Cornell University

Cornell is a privately endowed research university & a partner of the State University of New York. As the federal land-grant institution in New York State, we have a responsibility to make contributions in all fields of knowledge in a manner that prioritizes public engagement to help improve the quality of life in our state, the nation, the international. Cornell University has created a reimagined model for business education that reflects the future of business itself: flexible, collaborative, & cross-disciplinary. Cornell SC Johnson College of Business unites the strengths of three accredited business schools — the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management, the School of Hotel Administration, & the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management so that every student can benefit from the combined power of business at Cornell: more degrees, faculty, resources & expertise. Whether solving real-world challenges, or deeply immersing in a particular industry, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business offers something unique, meaningful & lasting.

About INSEAD, The Business School for the International

As one of the world’s leading & largest graduate business schools, INSEAD brings together people, cultures & ideas to change lives & to transform organisations. A global perspective & cultural diversity are reflected in all aspects of our research & teaching.

With campuses in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore) & the Middle East (Abu Dhabi), INSEAD’s business education & research spans three continents. The school’s 145 renowned Faculty members from 40 countries inspire more than 1,400 degree participants annually in its MBA, Executive MBA, Executive Master in Finance, Executive Master in Consulting and Coaching for Change & PhD programmes. In addition, more than 11,000 executives participate in INSEAD’s executive education programmes each year.

Around the world & over the decades, INSEAD continues to conduct cutting edge research and to innovate across all its programmes to provide business leaders with the knowledge & sensitivity to operate anywhere. These core values have enabled INSEAD to become truly “The Business School for the World”.

INSEAD’s MBA programme is ranked #1 by the Financial Times in 2016 & 2017. 

About WIPO

The Global Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the global forum for intellectual property policy, services, information & cooperation. A specialized agency of the United Nations, WIPO assists its 191 member states in developing a balanced international IP legal framework to meet society’s evolving needs. It provides business services for obtaining IP rights in multiple countries and resolving disputes. It delivers capacity-building programs to help developing countries benefit from using IP. & it provides free access to unique knowledge banks of IP information.

For further information, please contact the Media Relations Section at WIPO:

  • Tel: (+41 22) 338 81 61 / 338 72 24
  • Fax: (+41 22) 338 81 40
  • E-mail


Updated: June 15, 2017 — 5:00 am

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