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Global Innovation Index 2016: Demand Side Policies for Innovation and Development

The recently launched Global Innovation Index 2016 includes a chapter from the Executive Director of the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, Professor Jakob Edler.

In this year’s index China joins the ranks of the world’s 25 most innovative economies, while Switzerland, Sweden, UK, US, Finland and Singapore lead the 2016 rankings in the Global Innovation Index, released by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

China’s top-25 entry marks the first time a middle-income country has joined the highly developed economies that have historically dominated the top of the Index throughout its nine years of surveying the innovative capacity of 100-plus countries across the globe. China’s progression reflects the country’s improved innovation performance as well as methodological considerations such as improved innovation metrics in the Index.

However despite China’s rise an ‘innovation divide’ still persists between developed and developing countries amid increasing awareness among policymakers that fostering innovation is crucial to a vibrant, competitive economy.

Professor Edler’s contribution concentrates on the need to develop globally focussed, demand side-innovation policies which can deliver innovation in developing and emerging countries. Traditional innovation policy has tended to focus on supply rather than demand – that is to say the generation of an ‘innovation’, rather than its adoption or absorption, or the satisfaction of a need, or solution to a challenge.

As he explains: “Innovation policy is not only about the immediate economic effect of who supplies the innovation in the first instances, but also about contributing to development and need satisfaction through diffusion. Innovation generated on the basis of demand measures is much more likely to satisfy local needs and enable learning across societies.”

Demand-side innovation is an area of research covered under the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research’s theme of Science, Technology and Innovation, Public policy and organisations (STIP).

The Global Innovation Index has been published annually since 2007. The index is now a leading benchmarking tool for business executives, policy makers and others seeking insight into the state of innovation around the world.

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