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The 2020 edition of the Global Innovation Index (GII) presents the latest global innovation trends and the annual innovation ranking of 131 economies. India like earlier years, stood first in its income group and 48th among all nations. A still moment to celebrate, this achievement can be explained in details from the report of GII. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) which was released on September 2, 2020. It was released jointly by WIPO, Cornell University, INSEAD and the 2020 GII Knowledge Partners: The Confederation of Indian Industry; Dassault Systèmes – the 3DEXPERIENCE Company; and The National Confederation of Industry (CNI) – Brazil.

The report appears as under:

GII involves the ranking based both on innovation capabilities as well as the results treating innovation as a driver of economic growth and prosperity. The level of research and development also finds its place in ranking of nations.

How does the ranking work?

To support the global innovation debate which has instilled creativity in the minds of global citizens, to guide policies and to point out good practices, certain metrics are used to assess innovation applicable to developed ad emerging economies. GII creates an environment and an atmosphere in which innovation factors are under continual evaluation including the following features:

  • 131 country/economy profiles, including data, ranks, and strengths and weaknesses
  • 80 data tables for indicators from over 30 international public and private sources, of which 58 are hard data, 18 composite indicators, and 4 survey questions
  • A transparent and replicable computation methodology including 90% confidence intervals for each index ranking (GII, output and input sub-indices) and an analysis of factors affecting year-on-year changes in rankings.

I may be able to reproduce the metrics enunciated by them for clarity and distinct variation:

“The GII 2020 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 and 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 and technology outputs and (7) Creative outputs.

The index is submitted to an independent statistical audit by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.”

The above transparency is able to clear any feelings of partiality based on the economics of the nations. Its ranking sets its tone for innovation and creativity among the generations of human beings who want improvements on daily basis and measurable impartially for further growth.

It is a proud moment that The Confederation of Indian Industry, a leading association representing thousands of industries from India was one of the knowledge partners.

CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization, with about 9100 members from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs, and an indirect membership of over 300,000 enterprises from 288 national and regional sectoral industry bodies.

What does the knowledge partner contribute?

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

They are committed to producing a valuable and 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 and dissemination of the GII results.

The above information sets the tone that Indian industries has been goaded by illustrated bodies by CII ably supported by the policy decisions to accelerate innovation- particularly, the youngest country in the world needs to excel in innovation with the democratic set up for the past 70 years.

Before we find the rating of countries, let us learn the conceptual frame work as advised by GII. Let me quote from page 60 of the original study which is as under:

“Conceptual framework The GII helps create an environment that evaluates innovation factors continuously. This year, it provides detailed innovation metrics for 131 economies. All economies covered represent 93.5% of the world’s population and 97.4% of the world’s GDP.”

(The above publication is of 448 pages with 16 chapters and 6 appendix). It has been produced by the best brains of the world including our own Confederation of Indian Industry.)

GII 2020 regional innovation leaders

The ranking order maintained in the study has been kept as guidance. Region wise and also intra region top positions will also be discussed.

Northern America

Both United States of America and Canada rank among top 20 in this year’s GII index retaining 3rd and 17th positions respectively. U.S.A. with its massive investments in Research & Development in world class universities and 20 world class clusters, led by San Jose-San Francisco cluster.


16 of the GII leaders in the top 25 are from Europe with 7 of them ranking in the top 10. Switzerland remains the world’s leader in innovation for the 10th year in succession. A consistent producer of high-quality innovation outcomes, it outshines in patents and venture capital deals. Sweden follows the leader in the second position with best human resource capital and research systems. It leads in innovation with best firms under that category.

France occupying 12th position in the world ranking due to a combination of performance improvements and model changes.

South East Asia, East Asia, and Oceania

The two most innovative economies in this region – Singapore (8) and the Republic of Korea (10) – rank in the top 10. China retains its 14th position, after its rapid rise in recent years.

The Republic of Korea moves into the top 10 group of the GII for the first time. It improves its rank in various indicators, including environmental performance, patent families, quality of scientific publications, and high-technology manufactures, while retaining top 3 positions in R&D expenditures, researchers, and PCT patents. Three of its clusters make it to the top 100, with Seoul ranking 3rd worldwide. Some of the best products it markets in India vouchsafe its supremacy in these areas.

China has established itself as an innovation leader, with high ranks in important metrics including patents, utility models, trademarks, industrial designs, and creative goods exports. It boasts 17 of the top science and technology clusters worldwide – with Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou and Beijing in the 2nd and 4th spots respectively. With some of the best world class universities under its control, it is preparing to be world leader in R&D, innovation and leading the benefits of its efforts to its people.

In the region, Malaysia (33) and the Philippines (50) move up the ranking thanks to its first-class tertiary education system, sophisticated capital market, and a vibrant private sector. Malaysia excels in high-technology exports and creative goods exports. The Philippines enters the top 50 this year, with top 10 ranks in utility models, productivity growth, high-technology exports and imports, and ICT services exports.

Central and Southern Asia

India (48) retains the highest rank in the region, followed by the Islamic Republic of Iran (67). The third position is occupied by Kazakhstan (77)

Moving up four positions since last year, India becomes the third most innovative lower middle-income economy in the world, thanks to newly available indicators and improvements in various areas of the GII.

 It ranks in the top 15 in indicators such as ICT services exports, government online services, graduates in science and engineering, and R&D-intensive global companies.

It has been maintaining the highest traditions of R&D, innovation by encouraging incubation centers by the young intellectuals, and leadership roles in management of new industries through the Indian Institute of Technology at Chennai, Bombay, Delhi and the Indian Institute of Science at Bengaluru and its top scientific publications. Its innovation quality has been assessed to be of the highest quality.

This year Uzbekistan (93) enters the GII rankings and ranks 4th in its region, assisted by better data coverage.

 It ranks in the top 10 worldwide in three indicators: graduates in science and engineering, ease of starting a business, and capital investment.

Northern Africa and Western Asia

Israel (13), Cyprus (29), and the United Arab Emirates (34) are the top three economies in this region.

Israel is the world leader in several key indicators such as researchers, R&D expenditures, and university-industry research collaboration. Thanks to these investments, Israel remains a top innovation player, especially in ICT services exports. Cyprus occupying small land mass has performed exceedingly well.

United Arab Emirates is preparing itself to face the future without production of petroleum products so that it would survive forever, by investing massively in innovation and R&D. It is also preparing its population towards such glorious future.

Saudi Arabia (66) and Jordan (81) are among the economies that saw a significant improvement in their ranking this year, due to a combination of performance improvements and model changes.

 Saudi Arabia takes the 3rd place in ease of protecting minority investors and ranks 13th in the state of cluster development.

 Jordan improves in variables related to the quality of its credit market, and in particular in ease of getting credit, domestic credit to private sector, and venture capital deals.

Latin America and the Caribbean

Chile (54) ranks first in the region, followed by Mexico (55) and Costa Rica (56).

BrazilMexico, and Argentina host global R&D companies and are among the top 10 middle-income economies in the quality of innovation.

 ChileUruguay, and Brazil produce high levels of scientific and technical articles, with Brazil making an impact also in patents.

This region also boasts of top valuable brands emanating from here.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Mauritius (52), South Africa (60), Kenya (86) and the United Republic of Tanzania (88) are leading this region.

With high-quality institutions and a dynamic market, Mauritius is the 9th most innovative upper middle-income economy in the world.

A mix of new data availability, data revisions at the source and performance effects explain Mauritius’ rank movements.

A sophisticated internal market is also the strongest area of South Africa, ranking first in market capitalization and ninth in domestic credit to the private sector.

Kenya is among the economies holding the record of being innovation achievers for ten consecutive years, thanks to top 5 rankings in indicators such as ease of getting credit and R&D expenditures financed by abroad.

 Tanzania benefits from a relatively well interlinked innovation system and good international connectivity and ranks in the top 25 in cost of redundancy dismissal and gross capital investment. These are creditable achievements resulting in its growth.

Rwanda (91) significantly improves its rankings this year, thanks partly by improved data coverage. It ranks in the top 15 in ease of getting credit, microfinance loans, and productivity growth. This is a remarkable achievement for this country.

Let us explain some of the notable feature of India which has climbed the ranking from 52 to 48.

What do the experts speak about India and others in respect of its excellent performance in the recent past?

The experts feel that the geography of innovation continues its drift towards India, China, the Philippines and the Viet Nam. All the four proudly occupy their position among top 50. A truly remarkable achievement.

China proudly occupies 14th position and its growth to be among the top 10 is a matter of time.

Continuing our discussion on shifting innovation landscape, the information that the Philippines achieves its best rank ever, i.e.50 from 100 in 2014.

 Heading the lower middle-income group, Viet Nam ranks 42nd for the second consecutive year— from 71st in 2014. This is not a surprising since a large number of companies are shifting to Viet Nam due to attractive industrial policies incorporating the latest R&D coupled with innovation.

 Indonesia (85th) joins the top 10 of this group. Tanzania tops the low-income group (88th).


The purpose of reporting from the latest Global Innovation Index 2020 is to show the tremendous progress made by India which was lowly kept at 76 in 2015 to 48 now with clear mention of its innovation and commitment to reach the top 10 in the near future. I may quote the obvious reason as the keenness of the states to compete among themselves and improve their systems and procedures to be simplified so that their ranking in” ease of doing business” increases.

Today’s Time of India proudly proclaims the enormous growth made by Uttar Pradesh from 10th position to the second position under “ease of doing business “ranking among the states. U.P. surprised every- one by its preparedness to welcome its own people from other states during the pandemic with a clear plan to use their talent in the industries to be set up in a massive scale in U.P. like implementing 186 of the 187 reforms suggested by the central government. Its single window portal “Nivesh Mitra” alone helped its entrepreneurs to shift there taking all innovation and R&D in their ventures.

Yes, India with its youngest population will reach the top 10 in the near future ranking of Global Innovation Index. The parents should also imbibe the spirit of innovation with their children.


Disclaimer: The views collected by me from the publication of GII is purely personal and how I view them. Neither nor any other agency is responsible for my views. I have given references for guidance or to contact relevant authorities.

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June 2024