Global Innovation Index 2014 Unveiled in Sydney, Australia


The report, co-authored by Johnson Dean Soumitra Dutta, shows European countries the world’s most innovative, with encouraging signs from sub-Saharan Africa

Global Innovation Index 2014 Unveiled in Sydney, Australia

The Global Innovation Index 2014, a chief benchmarking tool for business executives, policy makers and others seeking insight into the state of innovation around the world, was released today in Sydney at a gathering of international business leaders (known as B20). The meeting, part of Australia’s preparations to host the annual Group of Twenty (G20) Leaders’ Summit in November 2014, provided a showcase for the annual ranking of nations’ innovative capabilities and readiness.

The study is co-published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations; INSEAD, and Cornell University. Soumitra Dutta, the Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, is co-author of the study, now in its seventh year. The GII 2014 surveys 143 economies around the world, using 81 indicators–to gauge both their innovation capabilities and measurable results.

Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Sweden topped this year’s Global Innovation Index, while Sub-Saharan Africa posted significant regional improvement. Switzerland remains the leader for the fourth consecutive year. The United Kingdom moves up a rank to second place, followed by Sweden. A new entry into the top 10 this year is Luxembourg (9th). Top-scoring middle-income economies are narrowing the gap on innovation quality with China in the lead, followed by Brazil and India.

“When reviewing the GII quality indicators, top performing middle-income economies are closing the gap with high-income economies,” Dutta said.  “China significantly outperforms the average score of high-income economies across the combined quality indicators. To close the gap even further, middle-income economies must continue to invest in strengthening their innovation ecosystems and closely monitor the quality of their innovation indicators.”

Top Ten 2014 ranking
1 Switzerland (Number 1 in 2013) 6 United States of America (5)
2 United Kingdom (3) 7 Singapore (8)
3 Sweden (2) 8 Denmark (9)
4 Finland (6) 9 Luxembourg (12)
5 Netherlands (4) 10 Hong Kong (China) (7)


The GII 2014 confirms the persistence of global innovation divides. Among the top 10 and top 25, rankings have changed but the list of economies remains unaltered. A difficult-to-bridge divide exists where less-innovative economies have difficulty keeping up with the rate of progress of higher-ranking economies, even when making notable gains themselves. This can be partially explained by their difficulties to grow and retain the human resources necessary for sustained innovation, which is the focus of this year’s report.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Becoming a Region of “Innovation Learners”

Among low-income countries displaying above par-performance, the Sub-Saharan African region now makes up nearly 50 percent of the so-called “innovation learner” economies. These are defined by the report’s authors as those that that perform at least 10 percent higher than their peers for their level of gross domestic product.

Sub-Saharan Africa now has more “innovation learner” economies than any other region, with five African economies joining that status in 2014: Burkina Faso, Gambia, Malawi, Mozambique, and Rwanda. These five economies demonstrate rising levels of innovation, particularly in the areas of human capital and research (collectively improving in their ranking on this pillar by 71 places) and market sophistication (collectively improving by 148 places).

Overall, Sub-Saharan Africa has seen the most significant improvement of all regions in the GII rankings, with Côte d’Ivoire showing the biggest improvement (20 places) and Mauritius taking the leading regional position (40th, an improvement of 13 places from 53rd in 2013). Of the 33 African countries surveyed in the GII 2014, 17 saw an improvement in ranking.

Complete rankings, analysis, and the full Global Innovation Index 2014 report are available at