Before we look at the results, an obligatory word about the methodology. As with any ranking system, one can always take issue with the methodology and the relative weights of different variables. That doubtless holds true here, as well. In this case, the rankings are compiled based on "creative inputs" (which include institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication, and business sophistication) and "creative outputs" (e.g., knowledge/technology). Further explanation of the methodology is available here.
The value of such indices does not lie in the actual results. For example, it's largely irrelevant whether the UK's "correct" placement is third, fifth, or seventh. More importantly, league tables of this sort invite conversation and thinking around trends in innovation. How have the world's top innovators achieved such success? What factors contribute to their innovation efforts, and how can other countries emulate them? Also, what regional trends can we spot? Are there certain factors that hold back a particular region from being more innovative? If so, there may be scope for regional collaboration amongst policymakers, academics, and businesses to jointly overcome these hurdles.
But enough qualifying and footnoting. Who are the world's leading innovators? The top five:
- United Kingdom