Since 2007, the World Intellectual Property Organization, an agency of the United Nations, along with several other entities has published the Global Innovation Index that seeks to assess and rank innovation abilities and innovation results among the countries of the world.
A fundamental concept underpinning the efforts to conduct this survey each year is that innovation is an essential and critical driver of economic growth and prosperity.
A total of 84 indicators are measured and compared for each of 142 countries.
For the second year in a row, Switzerland topped the list of the most innovative countries in 2013, according to the survey, followed by Sweden, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.
The United States landed at a respectable No. 5 in the rankings, rising from 10th place in the 2012 results. Rounding out the top 10 is Finland, Hong Kong (China), Singapore, Denmark and Ireland.
A strong university educational base in the United States is noted as a significant contributor to its relative positioning in the rankings. Increasing focus on knowledge-based services supports the U.S. ranking.
As recently as the 2009 WIPO survey, the U.S. was ranked first among global countries.
Past innovation successes that tend to lead to additional future innovation success is one of the meaningful observations from the survey inputs and results. Economic policies and educational and fiscal environments that facilitate innovation also appear to support the attraction of investment capital and essential human talent. These resources will generally migrate, over time, to their more productive uses across country borders.
Finding paths to increase the overall economic welfare rather than creating disincentives for those productive workers, companies and countries, where relative affluence has emerged, will benefit a much broader group of people. Creating more opportunities for value-adding innovation, which tends to result in improving general economic prosperity, will benefit a greater portion of the overall global populace.
Kirby Brown is the CEO of Beneficial Financial Group based in Salt Lake City.