The most innovative country in the world takes top spot again

Solar panels are seen on the roofs of residential houses in Qingnan village of Lianyungang, Jiangsu province January 8, 2014. Beijing's goal of tripling solar power from small-scale operations such as rooftop panels looks overly ambitious, risking disappointment for investors who have bid up shares in Chinese solar panel makers in the past year. China has a target of installing 14.5 gigawatts (GW) of solar generating capacity this year - close to Finland's entire power capacity. But unless China promises bigger subsidies and financing support, and streamlines the process of acquiring rooftop rights, companies say the rooftop installations just aren't worth it. Picture taken January 8, 2014. To match story CHINA-SOLAR/                   REUTERS/Stringer (CHINA - Tags: BUSINESS ENERGY POLITICS) FOR BEST QUALITY IMAGE ALSO SEE: GF2EA5K084601 - RTR3FSRN

“In these economies, firms must design and develop cutting-edge products." Image: REUTERS/Stringer

Rachel Hallett
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Switzerland has once again topped the table as the world’s most innovative economy, in the latest World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report.

It is the seventh year in a row that Switzerland has claimed the title. The European nation scores highly on a range of indices, but particularly well for high quality enterprises across sectors that strive for innovation and for commercially applicable products.

Keeping the competitive edge

The 2016-2017 report assesses the competitiveness landscape of 138 economies and ranks them based on several factors.

High scoring countries must have an environment that is conducive to innovative activity and one that is supported by both the public and the private sectors.

 These are the world's most innovative countries

This could mean investment in research and development and the presence of high quality research institutions.

The report says that, “In these economies, firms must design and develop cutting-edge products and processes to maintain a competitive edge and move toward even higher value-added activities”

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This year’s most notable change is Japan’s drop in the table. Consistently ranked in the top five between 2007 and 2015, Japan moves down three positions and now ranks eighth for innovation.

The role of innovation

Innovation continues to be a crucial building block for successful economies across the globe.

The report says that innovation occurs “in an ecosystem where businesses, regulations, and social norms promote connectivity, creativity, entrepreneurship, collaboration, and the adoption of the latest technologies to generate new ideas and bring new products and business models to market.”

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