In Global Innovation Race, Taiwan Is Tops in Patents, Israel Leads in R&D

Photographer: Getty Images

South Korea's total innovation score was the highest, but the Asian nation actually wasn't the leader in any of the factors analyzed.  Close

South Korea's total innovation score was the highest, but the Asian nation actually... Read More

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Photographer: Getty Images

South Korea's total innovation score was the highest, but the Asian nation actually wasn't the leader in any of the factors analyzed. 

South Korea may have bragging rights as the all-around most innovative country in the world, but when you look at the individual factors that were weighed, other nations came out on top.

In determining who was the most innovative, Bloomberg Rankings evaluated more than 200 countries and sovereign regions based on seven factors, such as R&D expenditure, the percentage of public high-tech companies and patent activity. While South Korea's total score was the highest, the Asian nation actually wasn't the leader in any of these categories.

Here are the winners in each of the innovation factors:

R&D Intensity: Israel

While the country ranked 30th overall, it was first in this factor, which analyzed research and development expenditure as a percentage of the nation's GDP. In second place? Finland.

Productivity: Luxembourg

The nation ranked as the 21st most innovative country, but nabbed the top spot in productivity, which measured the GDP per employed person age 15 and over. Norway came next.

High-Tech Density: United States

No surprise here. The U.S., which placed 3rd overall, was the leader in the number of high-tech public companies as a percentage of all publicly listed companies. Taiwan came in at No. 2.

Researcher Concentration: Iceland

The nation's overall rank was 33rd, but Iceland took first place in the number of professionals, including Ph.D. students, engaged in R&D per 1 million people. Finland took second place in this factor, too.

Manufacturing Capability: China

Well, of course. The Asian giant ranked 25th in terms of overall innovation, but was the leader in this category, which looked at manufacturing value added as a percentage of GDP and as a share of the world total of manufacturing value added. No. 2 was South Korea.

Tertiary Efficiency: Canada

Canadians placed 11th overall and first in this factor, which measured the number of secondary graduates enrolled in post-secondary institutions as a percentage of the cohort; the percentage of the labor force with tertiary degrees; and the annual science and engineering graduates as a percentage of the labor force and as a percentage of all tertiary graduates. Taiwan came next.

Patent Activity: Taiwan

You can see why the island was among the top 10 most innovative -- in addition to coming in second place in two of the seven factors, it was first in patent activity. This category looked at resident patent filings per 1 million residents and per $1 million of R&D spent, as well as patents granted as a percentage of the world total.

You can download the full rankings here.

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