Which are the most innovative economies of 2020?

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An economy’s response to megatrends can dictate its long-term success

With innovation being the front-of-mind theme in Davos, discussions at the World Economic Forum’s annual assembly of political and business leaders in 2020 was centred on the ability of countries to innovate in the face of changing times. 

Many countries are now continuously pushing the envelope in order to maintain their competitiveness within the global economy—and constant innovation has been the key to provide a better life for their present and future populations.

European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank for the euro and administers the monetary policy of the Eurozone in Frankfurt, Germany | BigstockBased on the annual Bloomberg Innovation Index, Germany clinched the top spot for the first time in years for the most innovative economy, ending South Korea’s winning streak. 

Rank

Country

Score

YoY Rank Change

Germany

88.21

+1

South Korea

88.16

-1

Singapore

87.01

+3

Switzerland

85.67

0

Sweden

85.50

+2

Israel

85.03

-1

Finland

84.00

-4

Denmark

83.22

+3

United States

83.17

-1

10 

France

82.75

0

The European nation scores in the top five for its manufacturing value-added, high-tech density, and patent activity metrics.

Each year, the index assesses over 200 economies across seven weighted metrics, which include R&D intensity, patent activity, tertiary efficiency, manufacturing value-added, productivity, high-tech density, and researcher concentration.

Haeundae business district area in Busan, South Korea | BigstockRanking third overall, Singapore leads the charge for tertiary efficiency, with almost 85% gross enrollment in higher education as of 2017. In contrast, Germany’s enrollment stood at around 70% in the same year. 

An economy’s response to megatrends, such as tech breakthroughs and the risks of climate change, can dictate its long-term success. 

Merlion statue fountain with Singapore business district skyline with tourist sight seeing at Marina Bay, Singapore | Bigstock

The United States ranks in first place for both patent activity, and high-tech density—with the highest share of domestic high-tech public companies in the world. 

With the “Big Five” tech giants all headquartered in the US, it is easy to see their impact on a global scale. Over the past five years, the top 10 players in this index have shuffled around, but remained quite consistent. 

Modern skyline of Geneva in Switzerland | BigstockChina’s steady rise (up from 21st place in 2017) could be because it scores second worldwide for patent activity. This comes from the aggressive 6,000 patents filed since 2015 by the nation’s own tech giants.

The patents cover breakthrough technologies from AI and blockchain, to autonomous driving and even regenerative medicine.

Blue tram in Gothenburg, Sweden. Gothenburg has largest tram network in Sweden with 160 km of single track | BigstockIreland comes in first place on both manufacturing value-added and productivity metrics. In fact, for every hour worked, employed Irish people add $99.5 to national GDP.