Global Innovation Index 2019: Trade Protectionism Poses Risks for Future Innovation

Malaysia retains its 35th position in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2019 and remains among the middle-income economies that are bridging the innovation divide, supported by its first rank in indicators such as high-tech net exports and creative goods exports. Malaysia improves its rankings in four of the seven GII pillars: institutions (40th), infrastructure (42nd), business sophistication (36th), and creative outputs (44th), said a joint statement released by INSEAD, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and Cornell University.

“At the indicator level, the most significant improvements are in quality of universities, where Malaysia ranks 17th this year, and Gross Domestic Expenditure on research and development (GERD) performed by business, as well as GERD financed by business, where it takes the 25th and 16th positions, respectively. “In several indicators, Malaysia ranks in the top 10; these include graduates in science and engineering (8th), university-industry research collaboration (8th), state of cluster development (8th), and several trade-related variables-such as high-tech imports and high-tech net exports and creative goods exports,” it said.

Switzerland is the world’s most-innovative country followed by Sweden, the United States of America, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, according to the 2019 edition of the GII, which also identifies regional leaders India, South Africa, Chile, Israel and Singapore, with China, Viet Nam and Rwanda topping their income groups.

Now in its 12th edition, the GII is a global benchmark that helps policy makers better understand how to stimulate and measure innovative activity, a main driver of economic and social development. The GII 2019 ranks 129 economies based on 80 indicators, from traditional measurements like research and development investments and international patent and trademark applications to newer indicators including mobile-phone app creation and high-tech exports. The GII 2019 also looks at the economic context: Despite signs of slowing economic growth, innovation continues to blossom, particularly in Asia, but pressures are looming from trade disruptions and protectionism. Sound government planning for innovation is critical for success, the report shows.

The GII shows us that countries that prioritize innovation in their policies have seen significant increases in their rankings,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “The rise in the GII by economic powerhouses like China and India have transformed the geography of innovation and this reflects deliberate policy action to promote innovation,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.

For the first time, the GII launch is being hosted by the Government of India, which uses the GII in creative ways to strengthen its policy framework for innovation at both the national and regional levels. “The 2019 launch of the Global Innovation Index in India is a significant event and a recognition of the Government of India’s commitment to innovation in recent years,” said Minister of Commerce and Industry & Railways Piyush Goyal. He added: “The GII is a useful tool for governments to map out their strategies to foster innovation. The Government of India compliments the World Intellectual Property Organization for its efforts in this direction.”

GII 2019 Key Findings

Among notable GII key findings (Annex 2) this year:

The global landscape of science, innovation, and technology has undergone important shifts over the last decades. Middle-income economies, especially in Asia, are increasingly contributing to global research and development (R&D) and international patenting rates via WIPO’s International Patent System; The GII 2019 shows that public R&D expenditures – particularly in some high-income economies – are growing slowly or not at all. This raises concerns given the public sector’s central role in funding basic R&D and blue-sky research, which are key to future innovations;

Increased protectionism poses risks. If left uncontained, it will lead to a slowdown of growth in innovation productivity and diffusion across the globe; Innovation inputs and outputs are still concentrated in very few economies. Divides also persist in how effectively economies obtain return on their innovation investments. Some economies achieve more with less;

Most top science and technology clusters are in the U.S., China, and Germany, whlie Brazil, India, Iran, the Russian Federation, and Turkey also feature in the top 100 list. The top five clusters: Tokyo-Yokohama (Japan); Shenzhen-Hong Kong, China (China); Seoul (Republic of Korea); Beijing (China); San Jose-San Francisco (U.S.).

While the Global Innovation Index ranks economies according to their innovation capacity and performance, it also provides valuable insights into the dynamics of global innovation: It highlights economies that excel in innovation and those that are more successful in translating investments in innovation inputs into innovation outputs. Lessons from these innovation leaders provide useful guidance on innovation policy for others,” said Soumitra Dutta, Former Dean and Professor of Management at Cornell University, a GII co-publisher.

GII 2019 Theme: “Creating Healthy Lives – The Future of Medical Innovation”

The GII 2019 theme is “Creating Healthy Lives – The Future of Medical Innovation.” Through a healthcare theme section and 16 chapters from notable contributors, the GII 2019 looks at how medical innovation, including the use of artificial intelligence (AI), genomics, and mobile-phone based health applications, will transform the delivery of healthcare.

Innovation in the field of health is now being increasingly driven by data (Internet of Things) and artificial intelligence, in both diagnosis and prognosis. Unprecedented challenges need urgent attention in ethical, social and economic dimensions. As the power of medical decisions moves farther away from medical professions, regulators, governments, business and civil society need to establish limits to the ways in which the holders of big data and advanced algorithms can make or influence health decisions. In the absence of swift action, innovation in health and medicine may become a significant source of inequality,” said Bruno Lanvin, INSEAD Executive Director for Global Indices.

Co-published by INSEAD, WIPO, a specialised agency of the United Nations, and Cornell University, the GII is a leading benchmarking tool for business executives, policy makers and others seeking insight into the state of innovation around the world.



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