The US Drops Out of the Top 10 in Innovation Ranking

Recently, for the first time in six years, the U.S. was not included in the 2018 Bloomberg Innovation Index. The criteria is based on these factors:

  • Research and development intensity
  • Value-added manufacturing
  • Productivity
  • High-tech density
  • Tertiary efficiency
  • Researcher concentration
  • Patent activity

This year, the top 10 countries within the index were:

  1. South Korea
  2. Sweden
  3. Singapore
  4. Germany
  5. Switzerland
  6. Japan
  7. Finland
  8. Denmark
  9. France
  10.  Israel

The USA was ranked 11th due to slumping in the post-secondary, or tertiary, education-efficiency category, which includes the share of new science and engineering graduates in the labor force.

Robert D. Atkinson, the president of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation said to Bloomberg,

I see no evidence to suggest that this trend will not continue, other nations have responded with smart, well-funded innovation policies like better R&D tax incentives, more government funding for research, more funding for technology commercialization initiatives.”

While the U.S innovation rank is plummeting,  South Korea has surprisingly managed to retain the number one spot on the index for five years in a row. Why has South Korea dominated this index for so long?

The country has gone through a major economic transformation since the Korean War.  Way back in the 1960s, South Korea was one of the poorest nations in the world as it was strictly an agricultural-based society.  However, the country pivoted and decided to place great emphasis nationally on increasing low-cost manufacturing exports resulting in massive Korean conglomerates like Samsung.  Not only is South Korea the global leader in innovation, it’s the world’s 11th economy.

It will be interesting to see if South Korea can hold on to the title for the sixth consecutive year.