The main findings of the 2013 Global Innovation Index (GII) were presented by Daniela Benavente, Lead Researcher of the 2013 GII,to an audience of international trade experts and business representatives at the Bali Trade and Development Symposium (TDS) held in conjunction with the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Bali, Indonesia, from 3 to 5 December 2013 (programme).
The frenzy of the multilateral trade negotiations taking place across the street, which culminated in the Bali-package, offered a particularly exciting environment to increase awareness on the key role that innovation must have in future trade discussions. Last October, the 2013 WTO Public Forum was precisely on “Expanding Trade through Innovation and the Digital Economy”, and the GII findings were presented there as well (programme).
In Bali, the 1h30-session on the GII focused on the strategic importance of metrics and benchmarking efforts to facilitate the dialogue between public, private, academic and social agents to further innovation initiatives.
One key objective was to increase recognition of the tools available to policymakers. The Global Innovation Index is perceived as a key tool for action around 84 metrics for its vast country-coverage (142 countries) and its holistic framework, which goes beyond traditional areas such as R&D expenditure and patenting, around seven pillars: institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market and business sophistication, knowledge and technology outputs and creative outputs.
The slides of the presentation of the GII can be found here.The main message was to show that while an innovation divide persists, along income and regional lines, the GII identifies 18 Innovation Learners, developing economies that obtain GII scores well above peers in development.While studying the 25 Innovation Leaders firmly established at the top of the ranking can help countries detect best practices and synergies, it probably makes more sense for countries like Côte d’Ivoire and Benin to contrast their strengths and weaknesses with Learners in their vicinity such as Uganda, Kenya, or Senegal.
Of particular interest to the audience was the slide on country-specific strategies and the efficient frontier. Recognizing that countries innovation strategies might depart from the “innovation model” imposed by the GII, efficient frontiers and ranks for each economy were defined by Data Envelopment Analysis by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, which performs a statistical audit to the GII since 2011 (Annex 3 of the Report). Three countries are at the efficient frontier: Switzerland, Hong Kong (China), and Singapore, although Switzerland is the only country with a truly balanced profile, with strengths in all seven pillars, which certainly explains its number 1 rank in the past 3 years.
Other tools presented were WIPO programs WIPO Green, PatentScope, Patent Landscape Reports, Access to Research and Development for Innovation (ARDI), Access to Specialized Patent Information (ASPI) and Technology and Innovation Support Centres (TISCs). The EPO also informed on their patent data tools and recent studies.
Daniela Benavente also participated as panellist in the Bali E15 Hearing on Trade and Innovation on December 4, where she had been asked to focus her presentation on the several trade-related indicators included in the GII. She made the point that the trade/innovation linkage is central to the GII, in particular to further the knowledge diffusion and absorptive capacities of global economies. Regarding metrics and statistics, she listed five challenges:
Promoting the adoption of the latest classifications (e.g. the latest classification for statistics in trade in services, EBOPS 2010, had been adopted by only two countries in March 2013, Australia and Chile, while EBOPS 2002, outdated to a large extent, was still the global norm).
Ensuring consensual taxonomies in relevant sectors (e.g.the 2009 UNESCO Framework on Cultural Statistics is a welcome development).
Agencies collaboration to ensure coherence and correspondence between datasets (e.g.high-tech output statistics are based on the ISIC classification and the OECD taxonomy; while trade statistics on high-tech products are based on the SITC classification and the Eurostat taxonomy).
Increasing the country-coverage of metrics (missing data are really problematic in the areas traditionally linked to innovation: human capital and research and knowledge and technology outputs).
Improve on data packaging: even when data exists, additional efforts are required to present the data in visually appealing and meaningful ways, ideally through free and online interactive platforms.
She concluded her presentation by saying that the "Made in the World Initiative" launched by the WTO and the OECD to support practical approaches in measuring trade in value could be an interesting indicator in the context of the GII as country-coverage expands and as more experience is gathered on how to interpret the data.
Daniela Benavente, 2013 GII Lead Researcher and Project Manager, WIPO Consultant