Switzerland leads world in innovation ranking. Here’s why.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) published a study late last week which ranked countries on innovation. The top five in the 2015 ranking are Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States. Switzerland has now held top place for five years in a row.

The study, undertaken by WIPO, the INSEAD Business School in France, and Cornell University in the United States is calculated for 141 countries.

© Sergey Khakimullin | Dreamstime.com

© Sergey Khakimullin | Dreamstime.com

WIPO’s Director General described Switzerland’s performance as “exceptional”. ”We see great sophistication in Switzerland’s links between government, the private sector and universities. The fundamental ties in the domain of innovation”. He added.

The top cluster of leaders perform better than the next  group in all areas but particularly in Market sophistication, Business sophistication, and Knowledge and technology outputs. Compared with 2014 the gap between these leaders and the rest has increased. The greatest increase are in Business sophistication and Knowledge and technology outputs. The next grouping of countries have gained ground in the areas of Market sophistication and Creative outputs.

The 453 page report classifies Switzerland as an efficient innovator and looks at 79 different attributes to come up with a composite score. A selection of attributes where Switzerland scores particularly highly are:

  • Political stability (2nd)
  • QS University ranking (3rd)
  • Information & communication technologies access (2nd)
  • Ecological sustainability (2nd)
  • Investment – measured as market cap as % of GDP (1st)
  • Percentage of the population engaged in knowledge-intensive employment (3rd)
  • University/industry research collaboration (3rd)
  • Royalty & license fees payments as % of  total trade (1st)
  • Patent applications (Madrid and PCT) as a % of GDP (1st)
  • Computer software spending as a % GDP (2nd)

Although Switzerland leads overall it still has a few areas of weakness. Areas where it performs poorly are:

  • Ease of starting a business (59th)
  • Number of graduates in science & engineering (50th)
  • Gross capital formation as a % of GDP (73rd)
  • Government online services (64th)
  • E-participation (87th)
  • Ease of protecting investors (72nd)
  • Inflows of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) (137th)
  • Growth rate of GDP per worker (86th)

The overall ranking of all countries in the study can be seen here.

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