Realizing that national innovation drives global advancement, we developed the International Innovation Scorecard. This year, we’ve added 23 new countries, grading a total of 61 countries and the European Union. Measures range from average broadband speeds to regulations that either spark or stifle the sharing economy, adoption of self-driving vehicles, the resilience of a country to withstand and recover from disasters, the share of women in a country’s workforce and immigrants in its population, and the essential freedoms of thought and expression.
In total, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ 2019 International Innovation Scorecard presents a comparative analysis of 28 indicators across 14 categories. The Scorecard highlights the countries that create the most fertile grounds for innovation, economic growth and social progress, and suggests strategies other countries can follow to promote similar achievements.
This year, 16 countries earn the highest distinction of Innovation Champion. Congratulations to Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Israel, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
In 2019, Germany and Israel climbed into the highest tier, becoming Innovation Champions.
Germany earned a higher grade in Entrepreneurial Activity, thanks to a small rise in new business creation and high marks in Resilience. The country has a low risk of natural hazards, a visible supply chain and widespread access to telecommunications and online services. Israel continues to ban on-demand rides, but in the last year, began allowing carpooling apps, and in other areas it punches vastly above its weight. Israel boasts a 51.4 percent share of high-skilled employment, and 46.8 percent of its college students earn degrees in STEM fields — second only to Singapore. Israel also devotes a remarkable 4.3 percent of its GDP to R&D, more than any other country on the Scorecard.
Meanwhile, three 2018 Innovation Champions dropped in the rankings to Innovation Leaders this year. Austria saw its grade fall in Tax Friendliness, owing to a top individual tax rate of 55 percent. The Czech Republic’s grade in research and development (R&D) fell due to low investment, which declined almost 15 percent year over year. And Portugal’s grade in Short-Term Rentals dropped after the country pressured platforms to share their data with the government.
In 2019, we identify a host of trends, including:
R&D Investment is led by relatively small countries this year, showing that economies of any size can choose to prioritize investments in innovation. Israel and South Korea each spent more than four percent of their GDP on R&D operations, the most in the category, followed by Switzerland (3.4 percent), Sweden (3.3 percent) and Austria (3.1 percent).
European nations set themselves apart in Resilience. Eight of the 10 most resilient countries — graded on criteria including the visibility of their supply chains and the strength of their digital and physical infrastructure — are European.
Broadband speed once again proved fundamental for innovation. The countries on each continent with the highest average download speeds also tended to rank highly overall, as Innovation Champions or Innovation Leaders.
Across the world, countries are embracing the transformative technology of self-driving vehicles: Not one of the countries returning to the Scorecard saw its Self-Driving Vehicles grade drop. Many have gone out of their way to support self-driving vehicle development, deploying self-driving public transit vehicles or preparing to build international test tracks. Some countries, however, have truly set themselves apart in their zeal for self-driving technologies.
When it comes to unicorns — domestic companies valued at USD 1 billion or more — in the past decade two countries spawned more than any others in the past decade: The United States and China, both of which witnessed the rise of more than 100 unicorns, continued their dominance in the startup market.
For more on how countries have demonstrated their commitment to innovation, visit the data page.