The Most Innovative Countries

The top ten innovation friendly companies, according to a recent Boston Consulting Group report:


South Korea




Hong Kong


United States



This according to a recent study by Boston Consulting Group and the National Association of Manufacturers.  The study ranked 110 countries on a variety of factors including tax policies, education systems, infrastructure, and number of patents issued.

Of course, the devil is in the details. One of the variables is “R&D tax credit” (which I agree with); another is “Taxation level” (which I’m more skeptical about…do lower taxes result in more innovation? The answer depends on your political leanings).  And some of the factors are not defined, like “Trade policy” (which trade policies do they count as “innovation favorable”?) “IP policy” (ditto) and “Immigration policy” (ditto).  But they have captured a broad range of factors, from “Workforce quality” to “Infrastructure quality.”

Based on interviews with 1,000 executives, they came up with a list of the top strategies for generating innovation.  Two of them are collaborative initiatives that I advocate in my book GROUP GENIUS: (1) Use outside sources of ideas, and (2) partner with suppliers for new ideas.  These executives said that the single most critical factor was finding a skilled, educated work force. Many of the executives were critical of today’s schools.  The number one recommendation of the report was “Strengthen the work force” by improving education.  Regardless of the details, we can all agree on that.

4 thoughts on “The Most Innovative Countries

  1. Business Week April 20, 2009 (page 48)

    America Could Lose Its Crown

    Is the U.S. losing its edge as the world’s most innovative nation? A recent poll released by Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering found that half of the American adults believe other countries will beat the U.S. to the next big inventions of the 21st century. Which country do respondents expect to take the lead? China.

    Paul Winkler

  2. And this week, BW released the 25 most innovative companies. None are in China:

    China will no doubt rise tremendously in the 21st century. But it will be many decades, if not longer, before it becomes the most innovative country. Check out this important article in Foreign Affairs arguing that the 21st century will still be America’s century:

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