Innovativeness of Nations

Prof Saumitra Dutta of INSEAD speaks about his report on Global Innovation Index that measures innovativeness of 125 economies in an interview with Strategy+Business.  The parameters used to come up with the report include both the input parameters like institutions, human capital, infrastructure and market & business sophistication ( I do not understand the last 2 parameters) and the output parameters in terms of creative and scientific. Among the Asian economies he says east Asian economies are competing with Europe now, China is moving up the index and is ranked at no 29, while India is slipping in rank since 2009. When questioned about India’s rank vis-a-vis India’s perception, he says well it depends on what you measure, if you go by output return based on input then yes India is innovative. Now does that make me feel that the criterion can be defines to suit what economies you want to highlight where you want to push the next set of investments towards. Not that I want to defend India’s competitiveness, but should a low input producing a high input not a positive contribution to the index rather than a negative.

I think it is time we stop promoting careers around these lists which can be made in any which way. If there has to be an index like this to me the most important parameter is the impact the new innovations are creating – be it scientific or business innovations. If you can not measure the impact, everything else is irrelevant, whatever the input or output may be. Another question that keep asking these days is – Are we too impatient when it comes to celebrating anything new without ever waiting for it to showcase its impact?


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