Mar 24, 2012 – 4:51 PM ET
Since we so often hear that Canadian businesses are laggards in innovation, it was heartening this week to see Canada ranked alongside Singapore as the world’s most innovation-friendly countries, according to the latest Global Innovation Policy Index (GPII).
Devised by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the GPII benchmarks the effectiveness of the innovation policies of 55 countries, and provides a framework for sounder policy-making. It is considered one of the most comprehensive assessments ever undertaken of countries’ innovation policies, and highlights best practices in policy development that other nations can learn from.
The index assesses the effectiveness of countries’ innovation policies against 84 indicators grouped across seven core policy areas that are deemed to represent innovative values: trade and foreign direct investment; science and R&D; domestic market competition; intellectual property rights ; information technology; government procurement; and high-skill immigration.
In each policy area the index ranks countries as upper tier, upper-mid tier, lower-mid tier or lower tier. Only Canada and Singapore placed in the upper tier on all seven innovation policy indicators.
The U.S. placed in the top tier in every category except openness to high-skill immigration. The report ranks 18 countries as upper-tier, 15 as upper-mid-tier, 13 as lower-mid-tier, and nine as lower-tier.
The 18 countries in the top tier are Australia, Austria, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the U.S.
“Countries are engaged in a fierce race for global innovation advantage,” says ITIF president Robert Atkinson.”But they can compete in ways that either maximize their innovation capacity while producing positive spillovers for the world, such as by investing in research or education, or compete by less effective policies that often distort global markets through ‘innovation mercantilism.’ The Policy Index highlights countries’ ‘good’ innovation policies and provides a scorecard of how effectively leading countries are adopting them.”
The report notes that countries will not be able to achieve sustainably high innovation rates if their governments have not implemented a broad range of enabling policies that create the conditions in which organizations throughout their economies can successfully innovate.
“We hope the Innovation Policy Index helps countries better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their national innovation ecosystem compared with their global peers, while highlighting scores of best practices in innovation policy through which countries can learn from one another,” says Robert Litan, the Kauffman Foundation’s vice-president of research and policy.
“The report clearly shows how openness to domestic market competition is a critical element of fostering an entrepreneurship-friendly environment in countries around the world.”
You can read the full report at www.kauffman.org/innovationpolicy.