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Who’s the world’s most innovative?

A small European country in which people speak three different languages and are surrounded by towering mountains takes out the winning crown of this year’s most innovative country. Switzerland has been hailed as the winner amongst 143 countries according to the Global Innovation Index (GII) created by international business school Insead, the World Intellectual Property Organization and Cornell University.


Picture/ Reto Fetz (swisscan)_/pixelio.de

The country takes out the title for the fourth time in a row. It’s success stems from a combination of investments in human capital and a strong innovation infrastructure, a spectrum of information and communication technologies (ICT), the cross-pollination of knowledge workers where labour moves freely across its borders and the protection of creative outputs.

As an example the country’s chief executive of UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, Sergio Ermotti, is cited in the study. He has been in banking since the age of 15, when he started out as an apprentice at Cornèr Bank. He started out learning how to sell stocks and trade and then went on to get a certificate in Swiss banking. Ermotti is an example of a Swiss apprentice who was grown from a talent pipeline that started even before university.

The next two spots in the Global Innovation Index were awarded to Great Britain and Sweden followed by Finland, the Netherlands and the United States. A new entry into the top 10 this year was Luxembourg at 9th place. As Insead’s “Knowledge” website states, a defining trait among all of the top countries was their approach to innovation, where they have developed their innovation policies across all pillars including business climate, business sophistication and the creativity and enablement of the younger generation.

This year, the research looked particularly at the “human factor” in innovation. It researched education and how easily it was available, how it incentivised talent and mobility across borders and between cities. The accolades in this area mainly went to Switzerland and Singapore that both excelled in attracting talent and offering hubs, but the US are also mentioned due to its university system which lures talent from all over the world.

Education is also hailed as a lifelong pursuit in these leading countries that doesn’t stop after university and a supportive, multidisciplinary system of education is encouraged, where ideas are being shared across disciplines.

2014 Top 10 most innovative countries

1 Switzerland

2 United Kingdom

3 Sweden

4 Finland

5 Netherlands

6 United States of America

7 Singapore

8 Denmark

9 Luxembourg

10 Hong Kong (China)



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