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The World’s Most Innovative Economies

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Ranked: The World's Most Innovative Economies

The World’s 10 Most Innovative Economies

In the 21st century, innovation has become the heart and soul of economic policy. Developed and developing nations alike are in the race to leave industrialization behind, adapting instead to technology-focused, entrepreneurial societies.

Customized cancer treatment, faux meat products, and the smart home technologies are frequently positioned as ‘the next big thing’. But which countries are consistently innovating the most?

Today’s graphic comes from the seventh annual Bloomberg Innovation Index and highlights the 10 most innovative economies, and the seven metrics used to rank 2019’s top contenders.

Measuring Innovation

Bloomberg calculated each country’s innovation score using seven equally-weighted metrics.

  1. R&D Spending
    All research and development funding invested in an economy each year.
  2. Patent Activity
    Number of domestic patents filed, total patent grants, patents per population, filings per GDP, and total grants awarded measured against the global total.
  3. Tertiary Efficiency
    Total enrollment at post-secondary institutions, graduation levels, and number of science and engineering graduates.
  4. Manufacturing Value-added
    Manufacturing output levels that contribute to exports and domestic economic growth.
  5. Productivity
    Overall productivity levels of the working-age population.
  6. High-tech Density
    Number of domestic high-tech public companies, measured against the number of domestic public companies and the global total of public high-tech companies.
  7. Researcher Concentration
    Number of professionals currently engaged in research and development roles.

More than 200 countries were initially considered for Bloomberg’s Innovation Index. Any country reporting in less than six categories was automatically eliminated, leaving 95 countries remaining. Bloomberg publishes the results for the top 60 most innovative economies each year.

Notable Countries in the Top 60

The U.S. rejoined the top 10 after dropping to 11th in 2018 for low scores in education. Israel moved up five spots to 5th place, while Romania made the largest overall gain, jumping six spots to rank in the top 30.

2019 RankEconomyTotal ScoreChange in Ranking
#1🇰🇷 South Korea87.380
#2🇩🇪 Germany87.32
#3🇫🇮 Finland85.574
#4🇨🇭 Switzerland85.491
#5🇮🇱 Israel84.785
#6🇸🇬 Singapore84.49-3
#7🇸🇪 Sweden84.15-5
#8🇺🇸 United States83.213
#9🇯🇵 Japan81.96-3
#10🇫🇷 France81.67-1
#11Denmark81.66-3
#12Austria80.980
#13Belgium80.431
#14Ireland80.08-1
#15Netherlands79.541
#16China78.353
#17Norway77.79-2
#18United Kingdom75.87-1
#19Australia75.38-1
#20Canada73.652
#21Italy72.85-1
#22Poland69.1-1
#23Iceland68.411
#24New Zealand68.12-1
#25Czech Republic68.093
#26Malaysia67.610
#27Russia66.81-2
#28Luxembourg66.374
#29Romania64.786
#30Spain64.52-1
#31Slovenia64.11-
#32Hungary63.05-5
#33Turkey62.890
#34Portugal62.79-4
#35Greece62.05-4
#36Estonia61.790
#37Lithuania59.73-3
#38Hong Kong58.9-1
#39Slovakia58.03-1
#40Thailand57.775
#41Bulgaria56.360
#42Latvia55.46-2
#43Malta55.43-4
#44Croatia54.98-2
#45Brazil53.62-
#46U.A.E.52.93-
#47Iran52.812
#48Cyprus52.05-1
#49Serbia51.35-5
#50Argentina51.31-
#51South Africa51.03-3
#52Tunisia48.92-9
#53Ukraine48.05-7
#54India47.93-
#55Kuwait47.27-
#56Saudi Arabia47.18-
#57Qatar46.58-
#58Chile46.4-
#59Mexico46-
#60Vietnam45.92-

Brazil rejoined the list at number 45, after not being included on the 2018 list. The United Arab Emirates made the list for the first time, marking the highest debut ever at number 46.

Tunisia and Ukraine were the two countries with the largest losses, which both fell out of the top 50 this year. To date, South Africa is the only Sub-Saharan nation to be ranked in the index.

Newcomers to the Innovation Index in 2019 are some of the largest emerging economies, such as India, Mexico, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia.

Impact of Global Innovation

Innovation is complex─many factors play a role in the ideation, development, and commercialization of any new technology. And while innovation success can fuel economic growth, it is generally more accessible in high-income economies, where R&D funding is readily available.

“The battle for control of the global economy in the 21st century will be won and lost over control of innovative technologies.”

—Tom Orlik, Bloomberg Economics

The focus of an economy that prioritizes innovation, however, is not simply allocating resources for a group of people─it’s discovering new methods, models, and products that create a better quality of life for society.

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Why Do People Start Businesses in Every U.S. State?

Is it for greater flexibility, more income, or something else? These graphics answer the question, why do people start businesses?

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why do people start businesses in every U.S. state?

Why Do People Start Businesses in Every U.S. State?

People have various motivations for starting their businesses.

Some seek higher income. Others are looking for a balance between family life and career. In some situations, entrepreneurship may be the only way to fight unemployment.

In this infographic, OnDeck uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 Annual Business Survey to highlight the most unique reasons for why people start businesses in each U.S. state.

Editor’s note: The map tracks the most popular unique reasons to start a business. In this case, “unique” is defined by how much a particular reason stands out from the U.S. average across all states. For example, in Delaware, more respondents said they started businesses because they “couldn’t find jobs” (11.6%) than in any other state (U.S. average: 7.3%). So, even though it’s not numerically the most popular reason overall, it is the unique reason that stands out the most for that state.

The Most Popular Unique Reasons to Start a Business

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, entrepreneurship rates in the U.S. have been trending upward over the past two decades.

In fact, despite multi-billion dollar companies getting the spotlight, 99.9% of businesses across the U.S. are small businesses, employing over 60 million people.

Wanting to make more income is the biggest unique factor in starting a business in 14 states, including some of the states with the highest unemployment rates, like New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Alabama.

Reasons people start businesses ranking

In Utah, a higher percentage (65.4%) of entrepreneurs start businesses to achieve a work-life balance than in any other state. Notably, Utah is known for having the largest average family size, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, and has a strong religious presence.

On the other hand, in Florida, more business founders (69.2%) start their businesses to become their own bosses than anywhere else.

New York and California are states where entrepreneurs mentioned that they couldn’t find a job as a key unique reason to start a business. In fact, both states lead as the worst for job seekers, as shown in another Visual Capitalist graphic.

Small Businesses to Remain Vital

Despite all the different reasons to start a business, the fact is that entrepreneurship is still crucial for the U.S. economy.

Over the last 25 years, small businesses have added over 12.9 million jobs. For perspective, that’s about two-thirds of the jobs added to the economy.

In 2021, a record-breaking 5.4 million new business applications were filed in the U.S.

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