Last month the Global Trade and Innovation Policy Alliance (GTIPA)—a coalition of 34 independent think tanks from 25 nations—published a report evaluating the innovation policies of 23 countries and the European Union*. GTIPA’s research sought to identify the three areas of innovation policy that were strongest and the three areas with the greatest room for improvement in order to build a robust and comprehensive roadmap of the state of innovation around the world.
The GTIPA analysis revealed several key findings across a diverse and wide-ranging set of policies and regulations related to innovation. The below summary captures some of the most significant takeaways and highlights where specific countries performed best or had the most opportunity to grow:
- Many countries have established dedicated government agencies, councils or organizations responsible for innovation on the national level. Ghana, for example created the Presidential Advisory for Council on Science Technology and Innovation, while Chile established the National Office of Productivity and Entrepreneurship. The report also cited the developments of similar agencies in Honduras and the United Kingdom, and flagged that in a handful of countries—including Malaysia, Italy and the U.S.—the lack of this type of organization could be posing a barrier to further innovative progress.
- Several countries have worked to put tax measures and other incentives in place to help encourage innovation. Chile, for instance, now offers a flat 46 percent R&D tax credit, and Poland has introduced innovation vouchers and loan programs as part of an effort to support innovation by small and medium-sized enterprises. Argentina, Canada, Italy and Korea were also cited as having recently implemented strong and novel tax measures to encourage innovation. In Germany, on the other hand, a lack of tax incentives for innovation was identified as an area of weakness.
- A handful of nations have also taken steps to improve their regulatory frameworks to help better support innovative industries. In Korea and the Philippines, “regulatory sandboxes” have been introduced—which help ensure that development of regulation is able to keep pace with the rate of innovation and firms can carry out small scale, live testing of innovative products and processes. Argentina and Chile have implemented one-day registration for new businesses. In other countries like Canada, India, Korea, Honduras and South Africa, weak regulatory environments were flagged as challenges to innovation.
The GTIPA analysis revealed several key findings across a diverse and wide-ranging set of policies and regulations related to innovation.
- Open data platforms are being leveraged by some countries to spur innovation. Pakistan, Taiwan, Mexico and the European Union were all cited as leaders in making data available to the public. In Taiwan, under the “Action Plan for Open Data,” government organizations are being required to have an open data committee and establish open-dataset goals. The European Union’s Ministerial Declaration on e-Government pledges to link-up members’ public e-services and adopt a “once-only” policy (i.e., ask citizens for data only once).
- Countries around the world are implementing leadership strategies to grow in several innovative areas. Canada, the European Union and Korea have all adopted strategies to spur growth in artificial intelligence, while Bangladesh, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines and Sweden have been working to define strategies around manufacturing digitalization. The Filipino government, for instance, launched the Inclusive, Innovation-led Industrial Strategy, representing a new approach that puts competition and innovation at the center of the nation’s industrial policy.
- The most consistently cited challenges to innovation included weak intellectual property (IP) protections, the need for stronger workforce training systems, and obstacles to effective technology transfer and commercialization of innovation. Bangladesh, Canada, China, India, Mexico, Malaysia, and South Africa in particular were cited as having difficult IP environments, with governments in many of these countries introducing harmful measures such as compulsory licensing. Meanwhile, Argentina, Chile, Germany, Korea, Taiwan and Sweden all struggle to attract, train and retain talented professionals in innovative industries. And with regard to technology transfer and innovation, the GTIPA report found that only the U.S. performed strongly in these areas, while Italy, Canada, Sweden, India and the Philippines in particular reported issues around industrializing innovation.
To dive deeper into these findings and explore the specific innovation landscapes for each of the countries included in GTIPA’s research, find the full report here.
*Countries included in the report: Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Italy, France, Ghana, Germany, Honduras, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States and the European Union