Fairer Economies

Which countries are the most innovative?

Multiple paper currencies.

Just 14 countries have featured in the top 10 during the 12 years of the WIPO Global Innovation Index. Image: Unsplash/Jason Leung

Gilbert Fontana
Data Analyst, Visual Capitalist
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  • Switzerland once again tops the WIPO Global Innovation Index, as it has done throughout the ranking's 12-year history.
  • Since 2011, the UN organization has worked with the Index to score countries based on indicators of economic innovation.
  • As the graphic below shows, a few nations have been able to hold firm in the top spots over the years, while others have come and gone.
  • Canada and Ireland dropped out of the top 10, in 2012 and 2018, respectively, which saw countries like South Korea and Germany move up the rankings.
A graphic showing the world's most innovative countries
Switzerland ranks number 1 for the 12th consecutive year. Image: Visual Capitalist.

12 Years of the World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Countries

Every year, the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) scores countries on how innovative their economies are with the Global Innovation Index.

The Index scores countries on indicators of a strong innovation economy. These include R&D spend, general market strength, patent systems and output, and local labor capital. And though a few countries consistently rank high, others are moving in and out of the top 10 rankings.

This graphic from Gilbert Fontana details the top 10 most innovative countries in the UN’s WIPO Global Innovation Index from 2011-2022.

Top 10 Innovative Countries (2011–2022)

Over the last 12 years, Switzerland has ranked at the top of the innovation index on the strength of its IP laws and local economic strength.

But much of the remaining top 10 have been in flux:

A table showing most innovative country by rank from 2011-2022.
Luxembourg has yet to secure a top-10 spot in the rankings. Image: Visual Capitalist.

In addition to Switzerland, seven other countries have been in the top 10 in each year, including Sweden, Singapore, and the United States.

Others have dropped out of the top 10, such as Canada in 2012 and Ireland in 2018. But that let up-and-comers like South Korea and Germany grab one of the top 10 spots. In total, 14 countries have ranked in the top 10 most innovative countries in the world over the time period covered in the visualization.

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