India even lags behind Armenia and Mauritius in global innovation

By Ashna Ambre

India dropped down in the latest Global Innovation Index (GII), falling behind many smaller economies such as Cyprus (27), Barbados (47), Mauritius (53) and Armenia (59) even as it remained ahead in its region, the latest rankings revealed.

The rankings, which have been compiled and published by Cornell University, INSEAD, World Intellectual Property Organization and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), saw India drop to 66 this year from 64 last year among the 142 economies surveyed.

India ranked poor in the areas such as political stability (123), ease of starting business (128), school life expectancy (109), Pupil-teacher ratio (108), knowledge absorption (122) and others.

Three decades after Infosys, India's second-largest software service provider, was founded by middle-class engineers, the country has failed to create an enabling environment for first-generation entrepreneurs. Reuters

Image used for representative purpose only. Reuters

However, it showed strength in areas such as Gross Capital formation (9), Investment in new business (20), Industrial Cluster Development (29), Computer & Information Services exports (1) and Creative goods exports (11).

Emerging economies investing more in R&D

India also ranked ahead of all other economies in South and Central Asia, being followed by by Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka, and ranked 11th overall in Innovation Efficiency Ratio, which reflects the output per innovation input in the economy.

India was also identified as one the 18 emerging economies are outperforming other countries in their respective income groups, namely: the Republic of Moldova, China, Uganda, Armenia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Jordan, Mongolia, Mali, Kenya, Senegal, Hungary, Georgia, Montenegro, Costa Rica, Tajikistan and Latvia.

Another trend observed with the index was that emerging markets have increased their R&D faster than high-income countries. Over the last five years, China, Argentina, Brazil, Poland, India, Russia, Turkey and South Africa (in that order) have been at the forefront of this trend, the index's findings revealed.

The top two countries in the GII were Switzerland and Sweden (1 and 2), while regulars like the UK, The Netherlands, and US (3, 4 and 5) were joined in the top 10 by the Asian giants Hong Kong and Singapore (7 and 8), the other Nordic nations Finland and Denmark (6 and 9) and struggling Ireland (10).

Recognizing local innovations

This year's index, according to its authors, casts additional light on the local dynamics of innovation-revealing an emergence of original innovation eco-systems, and signalling a needed shift from a tendency to try and duplicate previously successful initiatives.

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General at CII, said that the local dynamics of innovation varies considerably across the globe and influences innovation measurement at the unit level. "Learning from the local innovation systems adds newer dimensions to existing measurement approaches and challenges."

CII has been one of the many organizations attempting to spur further innovation in the economy. Among its initiatives to this aim is a national level platform for Indian start-ups that will be launched at India Start-up Summit late this year and eventually be transformed to an "Indian Start-up Association."

Also in the works in a push for mapping of state innovations and the appointment of 50 business experts to be part of State Innovation Councils, who will be helping to identify and address industry issues in the states, the CII said.

The CII will also be launching Indexing/Ranking of Industry Sectors based on innovation and will also push for a National Innovation & Entrepreneurship Policy and Fund to encourage and support innovation & entrepreneurship, it said.

Ashna Ambre works for Entrepreneur magazine