Innovation investment thrived at the height of the pandemic – and boomed in 2021 – but the future of such spending now looks more uncertain, according to this week’s 2022 Global Innovation Index (GII), which was founded by Soumitra Dutta, the new Dean of Oxford University's Saïd Business School (SBS).
The GII report states, ‘Historic data, plus the global economic recession, would have led one to expect a prompt cutback in research and development (R&D), intellectual property (IP) filings and venture capital in 2020 and 2021. The opposite happened.’
But SBS’s Dean Dutta and his co-editors say, ‘According to them [pessimists] innovations that make a truly transformative impact on productivity – like some of the key inventions of previous centuries such as electricity – are just too difficult to find these days.'
[The report] put its hopes in two novel innovation waves: an upcoming Digital Age innovation wave… built on supercomputing, artificial intelligence and automation….and a Deep Science innovation wave built on breakthroughs in biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, new materials and other sciences
Dean Dutta added, ‘This 2022 edition of the GII focuses on the effect of innovation on productivity and the wellbeing of society over the coming years, a topic that is important for all.’
However, the report notes, innovation optimists predict a new economic and social era; one where a massive new innovation spurt fosters a productivity uplift.
If they were to take an optimistic line, the report adds, ‘The GII 2022 puts its hopes in two novel innovation waves: an upcoming Digital Age innovation wave… built on supercomputing, artificial intelligence and automation….and a Deep Science innovation wave built on breakthroughs in biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, new materials and other sciences…’
The UK was placed fourth in this latest index, behind Switzerland, the US and Sweden, but ahead of the Netherlands, Germany and South Korea. China, Japan, France and Canada narrowly missed out on the top 10.
Meanwhile, for Africa, the three top innovators were South Africa, Botswana and Kenya, while India and Chile topped the index for Central and Southern Asia and Latin America respectively.
‘With their rise in terms of innovation performance in the shadow of shocks to global supply chains, Türkiye and India are positively enriching the global innovation landscape, while Indonesia shows promising innovation potential,” said Dean Dutta. ‘Other regional champions like Chile and Brazil in Latin America, and South Africa and Botswana in Sub-Saharan Africa, have improved their relative innovation performance.’
The GII is published by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and it has shaped global innovation policies and agenda in many countries around the world since its 2007 inception by Dean Dutta. The Index provides performance measures and ranks 132 economies on their innovation ecosystems, using a dataset of 81 indicators from international public and private sources, including social, business model and technical aspects.