Switzerland Tops Most Innovative Countries Ranking 2019

Who would have thought: Switzerland – my current home since May – the most innovative country in the world. It’s not something you’d suspect when hiking its many scenic trails and exploring its rather traditional cities (like Chur from where I am writing this right now).

But there exists another Switzerland, one filled with top universities, eager researchers, a healthy amount of available funding, and an attitude of patience and persistence.

What’s this ranking about?

According to its website: “Now in its 12th edition, the GII is a global benchmark that helps policy makers better understand how to stimulate and measure innovative activity, a main driver of economic and social development. The GII 2019 ranks 129 economies based on 80 indicators, from traditional measurements like research and development investments and international patent and trademark applications to newer indicators including mobile-phone app creation and high-tech exports.”

What makes Switzerland a leader in innovation?

Let’s take a look at the data:

Switzerland most innovative country in world

Other key findings from the most innovative countries study

Straight from the Global Innovation Index press release, some of the most notable findings from the 2019 study:

  • The global landscape of science, innovation, and technology has undergone important shifts over the last decades. Middle-income economies, especially in Asia, are increasingly contributing to global research and development (R&D) and international patenting rates;
  • The GII 2019 shows that public R&D expenditures – particularly in some high-income economies – are growing slowly or not at all. This raises concerns given the public sector’s central role in funding basic R&D and blue-sky research, which are key to future innovations;
  • Increased protectionism poses risks. If left uncontained, it will lead to a slowdown of growth in innovation productivity and diffusion across the globe;
  • Innovation inputs and outputs are still concentrated in very few economies. Divides also persist in how effectively economies obtain return on their innovation investments. Some economies achieve more with less;
  • Most top science and technology clusters are in the U.S., China, and Germany, while Brazil, India, Iran, the Russian Federation, and Turkey also feature in the top 100 list.

Curious how your country is performing in terms of innovation leadership? Here the overview [pdf].

Would you have thought Switzerland to be such a strong performer in innovation? Would love to hear your views in the comment section below.

You might also like to check out our Switzerland country guide or our interview with Nicolas Bideau, Head of Presence Switzerland, on Brand Switzerland, nation branding and culinary diplomacy.

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Founder and editor of The Place Brand Observer. Loves Nature and discovering the world - one place at a time. Believes in the power of storytelling to connect people, to spread ideas and to make this world a better place for all. Founder of the Sustainability Leaders Project.
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Florian Kaefer

Founder and editor of The Place Brand Observer. Loves Nature and discovering the world - one place at a time. Believes in the power of storytelling to connect people, to spread ideas and to make this world a better place for all. Founder of the Sustainability Leaders Project.