Going for gold: GII 2020 economies with the most GII “medals”

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

While the Global Innovation Index (GII) measures the balanced interplay of both innovation inputs and outputs overall, each GII data indicator is also a mark of excellence in a critical aspect of innovation performance. This year the GII takes a look at economies that achieve the most GII “medals” across all 80 GII 2020 data indicators (53 input and 27 output indicators). A "GII medal" is awarded to GII economies for each of the 80 GII innovation indicators where they have the highest rank.



Interestingly, the list is topped by Hong Kong (China) (with a GII rank of 11th overall and 12 GII medals), followed by the United States (U.S.) (3rd) with 9, and Israel (13th), Luxembourg (18th) and China (14th) tied at third place with 8 each. On the inputs side, Hong Kong (China) retains the first spot with 7 top-ranked indicators, while for outputs the U.S. comes out first with 6. GII overall rank record-holder Switzerland (1st, since 2011) surprisingly only manages to make it to the top five – tied with Singapore, Denmark, and Japan – with 6 medals. Finally, Cyprus stands out as having many more GII medals than its GII ranking of 29th might indicate.


For GII rankings exclusively, this perhaps indicates that a balanced innovation ecosystem with higher average scores overall provides a better strategy over distinguished but less consistent achievements in individual indicators. However for policymakers, it is always beneficial to unpack an economy’s GII ranking and uncover indicators that may in themselves be contextually valuable for specific policy objectives. In this list for instance, Israel’s GII medals are all linked to core R&D strengths that make it the eponymous Start-up Nation. While there is no “i” in team, there’s more than one in “innovation”—indicating that interested economies might find it useful to keep an “eye” out for their GII medals.


Note: The GII methodology allows for multiple economies to rank first in an indicator; see Appendix II of the Global Innovation Index 2020 Report.


Pamela Bayona is Project Manager for the Global Innovation Index 2020 at the World Intellectual Property Organization.

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