Academic journal article Research-Technology Management

Japan Most Innovative Country, Study Finds

Academic journal article Research-Technology Management

Japan Most Innovative Country, Study Finds

Article excerpt

Japan is the world's most innovative nation, followed by Switzerland, the United States and Sweden, according to a new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (www.eiu.com). The EIU ranked 82 economies based on their level of innovation in 2002-2006, using a methodology involving patents per million population, patent citations, direct and indirect innovation drivers, and a survey.

The study also predicted how the ranking would change in 2007-2011. The top four will maintain their positions, according to the forecast, while China will move up five places to 54th and Mexico will climb six places to 39th.

The aims of the study, which is sponsored by Cisco, were to analyze the importance of innovation, then determine which countries innovate the best and why. To achieve this, the EIU compiled the ranking and also surveyed 485 senior executives worldwide on their opinions regarding innovation. Answers from the survey were used to set the weightings for the factors that drive innovation and to examine how and where companies innovate.

"The message for governments is that there is no substitute for good education, nor for policies that encourage investment in IT and communications infrastructure," said Nigel Holloway, the editor of the study report, Innovation: Transforming the way business creates. "For companies, the process of renewal should, if anything, be accelerated. The proportion of total sales from new products and services needs to increase."

The main findings include:

* Innovation has a beneficial effect on both national economic growth and on corporate performance. The evidence of such benefits is stronger at the microeconomic than at the macroeconomic level.

* A broad range of factors explain what makes a country innovative, with the top determinants being technical skills of the workforce (92 percent of respondents) and quality of IT/telecommunications infrastructure (also 92 percent. …

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