Which countries are the world’s most innovative?

Once again, Switzerland remains the global leader in innovation, followed by the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States.

The United States continues to set the international benchmark for innovation quality in terms of scientific publications, patents and university rankings, according to the index, followed by the United Kingdom and Japan, among high-income nations. By the same measure, China, Brazil and India lead middle-income countries.

Global Innovation Index 2015 Rankings
Countries rated 1–141 (1 being the best)
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Source: Global Innovation Index

The Global Innovation Index measures 141 nations that account for more than 95 percent of the world’s population and nearly 99 percent of the globe’s gross domestic product, as measured in U.S. dollars. Researchers weighed each country’s performance in innovation based on 79 indicators that include political and regulatory environment, education, credit, investment and creative goods and services. Not all nations are included in the index.

The conditions under which innovation thrives don’t happen overnight, explained Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, senior economist with the World Intellectual Property Organization, which helps to produce the index each year. The relationship between a country’s stability, its economic output and its ability to encourage innovation are tightly woven together. Continued unrest in Sudan is one reason why that nation remains at the bottom of the index, she said.

“One important foundation for innovation policy in any country is to support the right innovation infrastructure, literacy and mindset,” said Wunsch-Vincent via e-mail.

Top Innovating Countries Based on Income

Upper Income: Switzerland, United Kingdom, Sweden

Upper Middle Income: China, Malaysia, Hungary

Lower Middle Income: Republic of Moldova, Vietnam, Armenia

Lower Income: Cambodia, Kenya, Rwanda