Switzerland consistently leads the pack on global innovation

Switzerland has been ranked at the top of the global innovation index since 2011. Keystone

Switzerland remains the uncontested champion of innovation, leading the pack in a United Nations innovation ranking for the ninth year in a row. The feat is a testament to its political stability and high-quality business environment, according to the Global Innovation Index External linkpublished Thursday.  

This content was published on July 24, 2019 - 12:30

The ranking examines the competitiveness of 129 countries on the basis of 80 detailed metrics. It is produced jointly by the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the business schools INSEAD and the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell.   

Switzerland has topped the list every year since 2011. This year it is followed by Sweden, the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Finland, Denmark, Singapore and Israel – a newcomer to the top ten. 

“Again we have Switzerland at the top this year with a remarkable steady performance across all pillars,” Bruno Lanvin, executive director of Global Indices, told “We see improvements on improvements. Qualities that we have seen before - political environment, business environment remain strong advantages.” 

In 2018-19, Switzerland strengthened its performance in areas like business environment, and information and telecom infrastructure. Its education system is also considered to be conducive to innovation although relative to other countries it does not rank high on tertiary education enrolment due to the apprenticeship model.   

But Switzerland’s strongest advantage in the future global landscape of innovation remains its open economy, according to Lanvin, who notes that the Alpine nation exports and imports heavily relative to its GDP.  

“It is not just about trade,” he says. “It is about investments. It is about financial transactions. It is about people and ideas. The Swiss economy has proved remarkably hospitable for people coming in with different cultures, different ideas, different ways of doing business. This has worked well around major universities and major enterprises. This strong, open and dynamic ecosystem will remain a strong advantage as global competition grows in innovation-intensive sectors.”  

The 2019 edition of the Global Innovation Index (GII) focuses on the theme Creating Healthy Lives – The Future of Medical Innovation. Among other things, it looks at how artificial intelligence (AI), genomics, and mobile health applications will transform healthcare systems in the years to come.  

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