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ITIF Releases Global Innovation Policy Index

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Greetings from D.C. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, along with the Ewing Kauffman Foundation, have just released their Global Innovation Policy Index, benchmarking the innovation policies of 55 countries, including virtually all European Union (EU), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) economies.

The Index assesses the countries against 84 indicators grouped across 7 core innovation policy areas: 1) trade and foreign direct investment (e.g., market access and receptivity to foreign direct investment); 2) science and R&D (e.g., R&D tax incentives, government R&D expenditures, and university ownership of intellectual property); 3) domestic market competition (e.g., the regulatory environment); 4) intellectual property rights (e.g., protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights); 5) information technology (e.g., the use of information-communication technologies throughout the economy to support productivity and innovation); 6) government procurement (e.g., fair and open government procurement based on best value, not national preferences); and 7) high-skill immigration (e.g., building a highly skilled talent pool from global sources). It then ranks countries as upper tier, upper-mid tier, lower-mid tier, or lower tier on each of the seven policy areas, plus an overall score.

The Unites States was in the upper tier in every core category except “high-skilled immigration” policy, and was 1 of 18 countries in the upper tier for the “overall” category. Only Canada, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Israel and Singapore were considered upper-tiered countries when it comes to having immigration policies that successfully attract high percentages of foreign-born talent. Canada and Singapore were the only two countries in the upper tier in all seven core categories. See the report for a detailed description of the underlying indicators and how they were evaluated.

The authors make clear that effective innovation policy relies on more than science policy and high-tech product development. It must also focus on “improving productivity across the board in all economic sectors.” The report concludes that countries need to implement their innovation policies in these core areas in a manner that enhances their innovation capacity without distorting global trade. To accomplish this, countries’ policies “will have to be predicated on transparent, non-discriminatory, market-based principles that embrace both global standards and the free flow of talent, capital, information, products, services, and technologies.”

This is one of many rankings developed periodically on some variation of this very important topic (national innovation capacity, policies, etc.), but certainly one that deserves attention. One of the report’s characteristics of particular interest is that it not only ranks the countries on their respective innovation-related policies, but also highlights what it considers “best practices” in policy development from some of the leaders in the report—describing how countries can learn from one another in deploying the best policies.

The press release for the report can be found here, and the full report can be found here.

Gary can be reached here.

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