Global Innovation Index (GII) - UPSC Notes

The Global Innovation Index (GII) 2021 was recently released. The GII helps create an environment that evaluates innovation factors continuously. 

In this article, you can read all about the Global Innovation Index, its significance, implications for India and other details for the UPSC IAS exam.

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Global Innovation Index, 2021

  • The 14th edition of the Global Innovation Index was launched globally on September 20, 2021.
  • India has climbed two positions and has scored 46th rank in the Global Innovation Index, 2021.
  • The GII 2021 finds that investment in innovation has shown great resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, often reaching new peaks, but that it varies across sectors and regions.
  • Only a few economies have consistently delivered peak innovation performance.
    • Switzerland, Sweden, the U.S., and the U.K. have all ranked among the top 5 in the past three years, while the Republic of Korea joins the top 5 of the GII for the first time in 2021.
    • The majority of the GII top 25 most innovative economies continue to be from Europe.
  • New segment – Global Innovation Tracker
    • This new segment of GII aims to provide a perspective on global innovation performance, drawing on a select set of indicators.
  • GII 2021 provides detailed innovation metrics for 132 economies.
  • Top three innovation economies by income group
    • High-income
      1. Switzerland
      2. Sweden
      3. United States of America
    • Upper middle-income
      1. China
      2. Bulgaria
      3. Malaysia
    • Lower middle-income
      1. Viet Nam
      2. India
      3. Ukraine
    • Low-income
      1. Rwanda
      2. Tajikistan
      3. Malawi
  • In 2021, the NITI Aayog, in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) hosted virtually, the India Launch of the GII and the Global Innovation Conclave during September 21-22,2021.

Global Innovation Index (GII)

The GII is an index that provides detailed metrics about the innovation performance of 131 countries and economies all over the world.

  • The index was first released in 2007 and is released annually.
  • It is published by INSEAD, Cornell University, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), along with other institutions.
  • The index uses 80 indicators that take into account a wide idea of innovation including education, political environment, business sophistication, and infrastructure.
  • The index is based on both objective and subjective data compiled from various sources including the World Bank, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the International Monetary Fund.
  • The GII has become an important reference for governments and businesses to measure a country’s performance on innovation.
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How is the Global Innovation Index calculated?

The GII is calculated by taking a simple average of the scores in two sub-indices. The sub-indices are:

  1. Innovation Input Index (composed of five pillars)
  2. Innovation Output Index (composed of two pillars)

Both the pillars describe an attribute of innovation each and contain up to five indicators. Their score is computed by the weighted average method. 

GII 2020

The GII 2020 is the 13th edition of the index. The theme for the 2020 index is “Who will Finance Innovation?”

  • According to GII 2020, the world’s most innovative economy is Switzerland. It has been ranked number one for the last ten years.
  • Sweden is at number two, followed by the USA, the UK and the Netherlands.
  • Among the top ten ranks are seven European countries.
  • Regional leaders topping include India, Chile, Israel, South Africa, and Singapore.
  • Vietnam, China and Tanzania top their respective income groups.
  • The ranking is dominated by developed countries and China is the only middle-income country to feature under 30. It has been ranked 14th for the second year in a row. China’s indicators related to patents, utility models, trademarks, industrial designs, and creative goods exports are good.
  • The GII has also been publishing a ranking of the world’s top 100 science and technology hotspots since the last four years.
    • Tokyo-Yokohama is the top-performing hotspot in 2020, followed by Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou, Seoul, Beijing, and San Jose-San Francisco.
    • The largest number of hotspots in the world is in the US with 25 hotspots.
    • The top 100 hotspots are in 26 countries out of which six are middle-income countries. They are India, Brazil, China, Iran, Russia and Turkey.
  • At rank 48, India is the third-most innovative lower-middle-income economy in the world.
  • One of the findings of the report was that the money to fund innovative ventures was drying up. VC deals are in a decline across North America, Asia and Europe.
  • The report also pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred innovation in many traditional and new sectors such as tourism, retail, education and health.

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The following tables give the Regional Leaders of the various groupings.

Regional Rank Country GII Rank
1 USA 3
2 Canada 17
Regional Rank Country GII Rank
1 Chile 54
2 Mexico 55
3 Costa Rica 56
4 Brazil 62
5 Colombia 68
Regional Rank Country GII Rank
1 Switzerland 1
2 Sweden 2
3 United Kingdom 4
4 Netherlands 5
5 Denmark 6
Regional Rank Country GII Rank
1 Mauritius 52
2 South Africa 60
3 Kenya 86
4 Tanzania 88
5 Botswana 89
Regional Rank Country GII Rank
1 Israel 13
2 Cyprus 29
3 United Arab Emirates 34
4 Turkey 51
5 Armenia 61
Regional Rank Country GII Rank
1 India 48
2 Iran 67
3 Kazakhstan 77
4 Uzbekistan 93
5 Kyrgyzstan 94
Regional Rank Country GII Rank
1 Singapore 8
2 South Korea 10
3 Hong Kong, China 11
4 China 14
5 Japan 16

GII and India

As seen from the table above, India is the top country in its group, which is Central and Southern Asia. 

  • India is ranked 48, four places above the previous year’s rank.
  • This is for the first time that India is ranked under 50 in the GII.
  • India is now the third-most innovative lower-middle-income economy in the world.
  • India ranks in the top 15 in the following indicators:
    • Government online services
    • ICT services export
    • Graduates in science and engineering
    • R&D-intensive global companies
  • The report states that India has the highest innovation quality among lower-middle-income countries.
  • The consistent improvement in the index rankings is owing to the immense knowledge capital, the vibrant startup ecosystem, and the amazing work done by the public and private research organizations.
  • India improved the most in three pillars: Institutions (61st), business sophistication (55th), and creative outputs (64th).
  • The India Innovation Index 2019 which was released by the National Institution for Transforming India NITI Aayog, has been widely accepted as the major step in the direction of decentralization of innovation across all the states of India.

FAQ about Global Innovation Index Gii

Who topped the list of Global Innovation Index 2020?

Switzerland is the world’s most-innovative economy followed by Sweden, the United States of America (U.S.), the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the Netherlands, according to the GII 2020.

Who publishes global innovation index?

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) publishes global innovation index. India is at the 48th position in the list of top 50 innovative countries in 2020.

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