Global Innovation Index 2014 released: A look at India’s performance

Earlier today, WIPO released the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2014. The GII is perhaps the most nuanced and holistic annual innovation index that currently exists. The GII 2014 covers 143 economies and uses 81 indicators across a variety of themes. It is co-published by WIPO, Cornell University and INSEAD. You can see our coverage of previous GII editions and how India performed here: 2013, 2012 & 2011. At the outset – this may not be a perfect one, but let me state my pleasure in finally reading a ‘useful‘ innovation index, after the number of half-baked biased “IP indices” that certain lobbies get published.

This year’s edition “explores the role of the individuals and teams behind the innovation process. It sheds light on different aspects of human capital required to achieve innovation, including skilled labor; the intersection of human, financial and technological capital; talent retention; and the mobilization of highly educated people. Understanding the human factor in innovation is essential for the design of national and local policies that help promote economic development.” 


  • The five economies leading the overall rankings were Switzerland, UK, Sweden, Finland and Netherlands respectively.
  • India’s overall rank dropped 10 places, coming in at 76 this time.
  • India is 7th in the Lower Middle Income category. Positions 1-6 in the LMI category are taken by Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, Ukraine, Armenia, Vietnam & Georgia respectively.
  • India is 1st in the Central South Asian Region.
  • India is ranked as 31st most efficient economy with an efficiency ratio of 0.82. The first five ranks are taken by Republic of Moldova, China, Malta, Indonesia & Vietnam respectively.
  • India is ranked 93rd (down from 87th) in innovation input and 65th (down from 42nd) in innovation output.
  • Amongst BRICS nations, only India has not made progress since last year’s ranking. China has moved ahead from 35th to 29th, Russia from 62nd to 49th, South Africa from 58th to 53rd and Brazil from 64th to 61st. India has slipped back from 66th to 76th. It is very interesting to note that the report links the drop in ranking to an education criteria. More on that below.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is the region that has seen the most amount of improvement in the GII 2014.



The index is divided into 2 sub indices: (1) Innovation Input Sub-Index; and (2) Innovation Output Sub-Index. The overall score is an average of these two Sub-Indices and the Innovation Efficiency ratio is the ratio of the Output Sub-Index to the Input Sub-Index – showing how much output a country is getting for its input.

The Innovation Input Sub-Index consists of the following ‘pillars’ that help enable innovation:

  • Institutions
  • Human Capital & Research
  • Infrastructure
  • Market Sophistication
  • Business Sophistication

The Innovation Output Sub-Index consists of the following pillars as results of innovative activities:

  • Knowledge and technology outputs
  • Creative outputs

Each of the above 7 pillars are further divided into three more ‘sub-pillars’ – which are then divided into indicators – of which there are a total of 81.

India specific concerns 

Interestingly, there is a whole chapter (Chapter 4 by Naushad Forbes) dedicated to India in the 2014 report. He notes that “such rapid growth, concentrated in private rather than public institutions and focused only in a few professional fields, has given rise to four crucial challenges: the need to (1) ensure quality; (2) build graduate education and research universities; (3) provide equity of access; and (4) build excellent liberal arts universities.”

As per the report, India has seen a drop in Knowledge and technology outputs, and creative outputs. Weak positions in Institutions, Human capital and research, and Business Sophistication remain. And India’s relative strengths are Knowledge diffusion, R&D, and General Infrastructure.

Some interesting highlights:

As it points out, engineering, pharmaceuticals, business and computer applications has seen the most amount of focus and growth in higher education. The growth however, has not been met with a proportionate increase in ability to teach (for e.g, number of PhDs in science and engineering have only doubled, and Masters have only tripled over the last 30 years, while there has been a 30 times increase in the number of engineers over the same period). Amongst other things, it was interesting to note that the author also points to the problems of equity of access when the majority of educational institutes charge a hefty ‘capitation’ fees to a trust fund, which automatically places it out of reach for a number of people – stating that only the very best performing poor students who get public institutes like the IITs have access to high-quality education.

Access the Report

The report has a number of useful notes and would be a very useful read to anyone interested in innovation policy in general. Some of its other chapters include “The Human Factor in Innovation”, “Educating Innovators and Entrepreneurs”, and “Retaining Top Innovators: An Essential Element of Competitiveness for Developing Countrie”.

You can go to the WIPO GII page here for more details or download the report directly from here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.