So we are Fourth in the Global Innovation Index

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According to the Global Innovation Index 2021 which the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), the UN agency for intellectual property, published on Monday 20 Sept 2021, the United Kingdom came 4th in the global rankings behind Switzerland, Sweden and the United States of America. Bearing in mind that the UK lies 13th in the number of patent applications to the world's top 20 patent offices according to the World Intellectual Property Indicators which is also published by the WIPO (see UK Innovation Strategy, 12 Aug 2021 NIPC Inventors Club), the UK's position near the top of the Global Innovation Index is surprising.

"The Index is built on a rich dataset – the collection of 81 indicators from international public and private sources – going beyond the traditional measures of innovation since the definition of innovation has broadened. It is no longer restricted to research and development (R&D) laboratories and published scientific papers, and rather, is more general and horizontal in nature, including social, business model and technical aspects."

In other words, the index is not limited to groundbreaking technologies such as artificial intelligence and processing of large data sets, massive infrastructure projects like high-speed rail and 5G telecoms networks in which countries in East Asia do well but includes "Institutions", "Business Sophistication" and "Creative Outputs" which favour wealthy and mature economies in Europe and North America.

Each country in the index has its own page and the United Kingdom's is on 185.  That page indicates that this country ranks 1st in "Citable documents H-index" (The H-index is the economy’s number of published articles (H) that have received at least H citations | 2020) and 2nd in "QS university ranking, top 3."  Essentially, the UK publishes a lot of scientific papers and has some good universities which seem to have propelled it to a high place in the index.

Whether the UK's high position in the Global Innovation Index is a good or a bad thing is a matter of debate.  It will certainly be seized upon by government spin doctors and their supporters in the press and broadcasting.  Personally, I should much rather see the UK higher up the World IP Indicators. Anyone wishing to discuss this article is welcome to call me on 020 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact form.


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