The Economist Intelligence Unit, a sister company of my favorite mag The Economist, published a study last week rating 82 countries in terms of innovation. The study took place between 2002 and 2006, defining innovation as "the application of knowledge in a novel way, primarily for economic benefit." Okay, perhaps not exactly how we here at the _floss would define innovation, but hey, it's called The Economist for a reason.
The number of patents each country generated during those four years, per million people, was the primary method for determining the measure of innovation. As for the results? Not what you might expect. India, for instance, didn't even make the top 15, nor did China. In addition to patents, top determinants were the technical skills of a country's workforce and the quality of its telecoms and information technology infrastructure. Again, it's hard to imagine India not making the top 15, but apparently the return on innovations is greater in middle-income countries like Mexico. According to the data, Japan, Switzerland and the U.S. rank 1, 2 and 3, respectively. The complete top 15 list after the jump.
Japan Switzerland U.S. Sweden Finland Germany Denmark Taiwan Netherlands Israel Austria France Canada Belgium South Korea