GII 2019: Creating healthy lives – the future of medical innovation

Author:Catherine Jewell
Position:Publications Division, WIPO

The 2019 edition of the Global Innovation Index (GII), launched in New Delhi, India, in July, reveals the latest global ranking of countries on their innovation performance. Now in its 12th edition, the GII supports policymakers’ understanding of how to foster and measure innovative activity, which is a key driver of social and economic development. GII 2019 also explores the future of medical innovation. Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, a senior economist at WIPO and one of the co-editors of the GII 2019, discusses some of the report’s key findings.

What do GII 2019’s rankings reveal?

Switzerland topped this year’s GII rankings, followed by Sweden, the USA, Netherlands and the UK. China is now a firmly established world innovation leader and continues to improve its ranking. India too, maintains its top place in the Central and Asian region with top rankings in productivity growth and ICT-related services. The Republic of Korea also edged ever closer to the top ten GII countries, becoming the world leader in overall economy-wide investments and research and performing well in most R&D-related indicators. The Philippines and Viet Nam also improved in most indicators and achieved top ranks for high-technology imports and exports. For the seventh consecutive year, the innovation performance of more economies in Sub-Saharan Africa than in any other region outperformed their level of economic development.

How has the global innovation landscape evolved over the past 12 months?

GII 2019 reveals that the global economy is losing momentum and that investment and productivity growth are sluggish. Global foreign direct investment has fallen. And public R&D expenditure in some high-income countries that drive technological advances is very slow. Such spending is central to funding basic and other forward-looking research. Protectionism is also on the rise. These uncertainties are slowing forward-looking investment in innovation and putting global innovation networks and the diffusion of innovation at risk.

Innovation remains concentrated in a few wealthier economies and significant knowledge gaps persist between developed and developing economies. However, the good news is that today all economies are prioritizing innovation to promote their social and economic development goals and are actively seeking to improve their innovation performance. In general, innovation is flourishing globally.

How is modern-day innovation policy changing?

A few years ago, innovation and innovation policies were still the reserve of high-income economies. Today, developed and developing economies – including those with an abundance of natural resources – have placed innovation firmly on their agenda to boost economic and social development. Economies at all development levels now ask questions about how to instill the curiosity of science and entrepreneurship...

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