Size does not matter

There is a myth that innovative economies are those with the biggest economic muscle. The reality is that in an innovation economy, size does not matter. In fact, some of the most innovative economies are the world’s smallest countries.

The 2011 Global Innovation Index report just released ranked Switzerland as the world’s innovation hotspot, dominating the top 10. In Asia, Hong Kong and Singapore were the only ones who made the Top 10, while in Sub-Saharan Africa, Mauritius at 53rd position led the pack followed by South Africa, 59th and Nigeria being in the 96th position in the global innovation ranking.

Top 10 Rank Country Score
 1 Switzerland 63.82
 2 Sweden 62.12
 3 Singapore 59.64
 4 Hong Kong (SAR), China 58.8
 5 Finland 57.5
 6 Denmark 56.96
 7 United States of America 56.57
 8 Canada 56.33
 9 Netherlands 56.31
 10 United Kingdom 55.96

Numbers don’t lie

In Sub-Saharan Africa, these numbers show an obvious disconnect between intention and output.

Numbers tell a story, and the story they tell is that our education system – despite all the huge output in terms of graduates – does not produce the high quality human capital comparable with the most innovative economies.

Numbers provide important benchmarks and predictors – and these tell us that we are falling behind at a time when we can ill-afford it.

Innovation economies are talent-driven, creativity and content driven. Politics and parochial interests aside, the needs of the nation and the future of the country must take precedence and concerted efforts should be geared towards the pillars of the GII frameworks as shown below (The Global Innovation Index 2011 (GII) relies on two sub-indices, the Innovation Input Sub-Index and the Innovation Output Sub-Index, each built around pillars like institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market and business sophistication, scientific and creative outputs):

The Global Innovation Index Framework

The GII framework is evolving into a valuable benchmarking tool to facilitate public-private dialogue, whereby policymakers, business leaders and other stakeholders can evaluate progress on a continual basis as innovation in this knowledge century has become the main driver of economic growth and prosperity.

References:, Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing