Most Innovative Countries 2021

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Innovation is key for a country to remain competitive on the global stage. A country’s innovation includes its government, fiscal policies, education policies, and innovation environment (innovation inputs) as well as its patents, technology, business performance, and economic growth (innovation outputs).

Which countries are the most innovative? In the Bloomberg Innovation Index, dozens of countries were analyzed using seven metrics: research and development, gross value added by manufacturing, productivity, high-tech company density, researcher concentration, tertiary efficiency, and patent activity.

1. Germany

In the 2020 Bloomberg Innovation Index, Germany took over the number one spot, knocking South Korea to second. Full of well-known tech companies and countless new tech start-ups, Germany ranked third for its density of high-tech companies. Germany also ranked third for patent activity and fourth for gross value added by manufacturing, which primarily comes from its car-making industry.

2. South Korea

South Korea is the second-most innovative country in the world, bumped from its first-place position by Germany. South Korea’s best performing metric is research and development intensity, which it ranked second for. South Korea also ranked third for gross value added by manufacturing, fourth for high-tech company density, and fifth for researcher concentration. South Korea is home to companies such as Samsung, LG, and Hyundai.

3. Singapore

Singapore, which moved up three spots this year, is ranked as the third-most innovative country. Singapore ranked first for tertiary efficiency, with almost 85% gross enrollment in higher education as of 2017. Additionally, Singapore ranks second for gross value added by manufacturing, third for productivity, and fifth for patent activity.

4. Switzerland

Switzerland held its spot as the fourth-most innovative country in the world. Switzerland ranked third for both research and development and researcher concentration. Switzerland is among the countries with the highest spending on research and development concerning GDP. The private sector accounts for more than two-thirds of Switzerland’s R&D expenditure.

5. Sweden

Sweden moved up two spots this year to be the fifth-most innovative country in the world. Sweden ranks fourth for research and development intensity and seventh for both high-tech company density and researcher concentration. In 2017, Sweden invested SEK 155.5 billion (US$154 billion) in R&D.

6. Israel

Israel ranks sixth overall for the most innovative country in the world but first for research and development intensity and second for researcher concentration. Israel’s large pool of STEM talent, entrepreneurial talent, low costs of R&D talent have made it a competitive country for the United States to outsource R&D too. Israel even competes with Silicon Valley. Apple, IBM, AT&T, Samsung, GE, Paypal, Microsoft, and Motorola are only a few of the many tech giants that have an R&D presence in Israel.

7. Finland

Finland is the seventh-most innovative country in the world, falling four places this year from third last year. Finland ranks ninth for productivity and researcher concentration. The country excels in technology and high-tech solutions. Finnish innovations include the Linux operating system and text messaging.

8. Denmark

Denmark, moving up three spots from last year, is the eighth-most innovative country in the world. Demark ranks first for researcher concentration and seventh for research and development. The majority of research is done in the higher education sector and expenses are mostly allocated towards health services R&D. Additionally, Denmark ranks sixth in the world for productivity and eighth for its concentration of high-tech companies.

9. United States

The United States is the ninth-most innovative country in the world. Home to Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Tesla, Amazon, Microsoft, Intel, and countless other the United States ranks first in the world for its concentration of high-tech companies. The United States also ranks first for patent activity, becoming the leader in the protection of intellectual property.

10. France

France kept its place at the tenth-most innovative country in the world. France, which its known for art, culture, literature, and cuisine, ranks second for its high-tech company density. The country is home to over 95 B2B tech companies such as Dassault Systèmes, Mention, and AgoraPulse. Additionally, France ranks eighth for patent activity.

Other highly innovative countries are Austria, Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium, and China.

Most Innovative Countries 2021

Rank Country 2021 Population
China1,444,216,107
India1,393,409,038
United States332,915,073
Indonesia276,361,783
Pakistan225,199,937
Brazil213,993,437
Nigeria211,400,708
Bangladesh166,303,498
Russia145,912,025
Mexico130,262,216
Japan126,050,804
Ethiopia117,876,227
Philippines111,046,913
Egypt104,258,327
Vietnam98,168,833
Dr Congo92,377,993
Turkey85,042,738
Iran85,028,759
Germany83,900,473
Thailand69,950,850
United Kingdom68,207,116
France65,426,179
Tanzania61,498,437
Italy60,367,477
South Africa60,041,994
Kenya54,985,698
Myanmar54,806,012
South Korea51,305,186
Colombia51,265,844
Uganda47,123,531
Spain46,745,216
Argentina45,605,826
Sudan44,909,353
Algeria44,616,624
Ukraine43,466,819
Iraq41,179,350
Afghanistan39,835,428
Canada38,067,903
Poland37,797,005
Morocco37,344,795
Saudi Arabia35,340,683
Uzbekistan33,935,763
Angola33,933,610
Peru33,359,418
Malaysia32,776,194
Mozambique32,163,047
Ghana31,732,129
Yemen30,490,640
Nepal29,674,920
Venezuela28,704,954
Madagascar28,427,328
Cameroon27,224,265
Ivory Coast27,053,629
North Korea25,887,041
Australia25,788,215
Niger25,130,817
Taiwan23,855,010
Sri Lanka21,497,310
Burkina Faso21,497,096
Mali20,855,735
Malawi19,647,684
Chile19,212,361
Romania19,127,774
Kazakhstan18,994,962
Zambia18,920,651
Syria18,275,702
Guatemala18,249,860
Ecuador17,888,475
Senegal17,196,301
Netherlands17,173,099
Cambodia16,946,438
Chad16,914,985
Somalia16,359,504
Zimbabwe15,092,171
Guinea13,497,244
Rwanda13,276,513
Benin12,451,040
Burundi12,255,433
Tunisia11,935,766
Bolivia11,832,940
Belgium11,632,326
Haiti11,541,685
South Sudan11,381,378
Cuba11,317,505
Dominican Republic10,953,703
Czech Republic10,724,555
Greece10,370,744
Jordan10,269,021
Azerbaijan10,223,342
Portugal10,167,925
Sweden10,160,169
Honduras10,062,991
United Arab Emirates9,991,089
Tajikistan9,749,627
Hungary9,634,164
Belarus9,442,862
Papua New Guinea9,119,010
Austria9,043,070
Israel8,789,774
Switzerland8,715,494
Serbia8,697,550
Togo8,478,250
Sierra Leone8,141,343
Hong Kong7,552,810
Laos7,379,358
Paraguay7,219,638
Libya6,958,532
Bulgaria6,896,663
Lebanon6,769,146
Nicaragua6,702,385
Kyrgyzstan6,628,356
El Salvador6,518,499
Turkmenistan6,117,924
Singapore5,896,686
Denmark5,813,298
Republic Of The Congo5,657,013
Finland5,548,360
Norway5,465,630
Slovakia5,460,721
Oman5,223,375
Palestine5,222,748
Liberia5,180,203
Costa Rica5,139,052
Ireland4,982,907
Central African Republic4,919,981
New Zealand4,860,643
Mauritania4,775,119
Panama4,381,579
Kuwait4,328,550
Croatia4,081,651
Moldova4,024,019
Georgia3,979,765
Eritrea3,601,467
Uruguay3,485,151
Mongolia3,329,289
Bosnia And Herzegovina3,263,466
Jamaica2,973,463
Armenia2,968,127
Qatar2,930,528
Albania2,872,933
Puerto Rico2,828,255
Lithuania2,689,862
Namibia2,587,344
Gambia2,486,945
Botswana2,397,241
Gabon2,278,825
Lesotho2,159,079
North Macedonia2,082,658
Slovenia2,078,724
Guinea Bissau2,015,494
Latvia1,866,942
Bahrain1,748,296
Equatorial Guinea1,449,896
Trinidad And Tobago1,403,375
Timor Leste1,343,873
Estonia1,325,185
Mauritius1,273,433
Cyprus1,215,584
Eswatini1,172,362
Djibouti1,002,187
Fiji902,906
Reunion901,686
Comoros888,451
Guyana790,326
Bhutan779,898
Solomon Islands703,996
Macau658,394
Luxembourg634,814
Montenegro628,053
Western Sahara611,875
Suriname591,800
Cape Verde561,898
Maldives543,617
Malta442,784
Brunei441,532
Belize404,914
Guadeloupe400,020
Bahamas396,913
Martinique374,745
Iceland343,353
Vanuatu314,464
French Guiana306,448
New Caledonia288,218
Barbados287,711
French Polynesia282,530
Mayotte279,515
Sao Tome And Principe223,368
Samoa200,149
Saint Lucia184,400
Guam170,179
Curacao164,798
Kiribati121,392
Micronesia116,254
Grenada113,021
Saint Vincent And The Grenadines111,263
Aruba107,204
Tonga106,760
United States Virgin Islands104,226
Seychelles98,908
Antigua And Barbuda98,731
Isle Of Man85,410
Andorra77,355
Dominica72,167
Cayman Islands66,497
Bermuda62,090
Marshall Islands59,610
Northern Mariana Islands57,917
Greenland56,877
American Samoa55,100
Saint Kitts And Nevis53,544
Faroe Islands49,049
Sint Maarten43,412
Monaco39,511
Saint Martin39,234
Turks And Caicos Islands39,231
Liechtenstein38,250
San Marino34,017
Gibraltar33,698
British Virgin Islands30,421
Palau18,169
Cook Islands17,565
Anguilla15,117
Tuvalu11,931
Wallis And Futuna11,094
Nauru10,876
Saint Barthelemy9,907
Saint Pierre And Miquelon5,766
Montserrat4,977
Falkland Islands3,533
Niue1,619
Tokelau1,373
Vatican City800

Most Innovative Countries 2021