During the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) State of the Industry Address at CES 2019, CTA announced 16 out of 61 countries are leading the world in having the best environment for innovation, according to its new 2019 International Innovation Scorecard. This year's Innovation Champions are Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Israel, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.
During the CTA keynote, the Netherlands' State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Mona Keijzer, the U.K.'s Secretary of State for International Trade Dr. Liam Fox, and Estonia's Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps joined Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA, onstage to accept the Innovation Champion awards on behalf of their countries.
"These countries are world-class leaders in growing innovation," said Shapiro. "When it comes to technology and policy, they value disruptive innovators. To be leaders in innovation, nations must drop protectionist rules and end barriers that limit them from creating the next great startups that will change the world for the better."
The new Innovation Champions include first-time honorees Germany and Israel. Germany climbed into the highest tier thanks to improved new business growth and widespread access to telecommunications and online services. In Israel, over half (51.5 percent) of its workforce is employed in high-skilled jobs, almost half (46.8 percent) of its college students earn degrees in STEM fields - second only to Singapore - and 4.3 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) goes toward research and development (R&D), more than any other country on the Scorecard.
Overall, Innovation Champions typically outperform other countries in measures of freedom, broadband, entrepreneurial activity, resiliency - a new category to quantify the degree to which a country's government and society are sustainable - and self-driving vehicles.
Meanwhile, three former Innovation Champions dropped in the 2019 rankings. Austria's top individual tax rate of 55 percent, the Czech Republic's 15 percent year-over-year decline in R&D investment and Portugal's decision to pressure short-term rental websites to share their data with the government moved them down to Innovation Leaders this year.
Other 2019 trends include:
- Small countries tend to lead in R&D investment. Israel and South Korea spent the most of their GDP on R&D, with more than four percent, followed by Switzerland (3.4 percent), Sweden (3.3 percent), and Austria (3.1 percent).
- On each continent, the countries with average download speeds above 18 mbps also ranked highly overall.
- Eight of the 10 most resilient countries - graded on criteria including the visibility of supply chains and strength of digital and physical infrastructure - are European.
- None of the 38 returning countries saw its self-driving vehicles grade drop. In fact, many have further encouraged self-driving vehicle development by deploying self-driving public transit vehicles or preparing to build international test tracks. Year-over-year, we have seen more countries adopt laws allowing SDV testing.
- The U.S. and China dominate in unicorns - domestic startups valued at USD 1 billion or more - created in the past decade, per 10 million people in population. The U.S. leads with 133, China has 120, and the third-ranked U.K. has 12.
The 2019 International Innovation Scorecard includes an additional 23 countries, for a total of 61 countries and the European Union. The International Innovation Scorecard is a comparative analysis across 14 different categories including average broadband speeds, sharing economy policies, adoption of self-driving vehicles, drone regulations and the ability of a country to withstand and recover from disasters.