Top innovative country? Not U.S.

A recent report identified the top 10 innovative countries today. Innovative is defined in this report as those “who contribute to the general advancement of mankind’s well being.”

The U.S. was not number 1; nor number 2. I’m not surprised, but the list is quite interesting. Here it is:

1. Denmark. High levels of innovation with the seventh-best R&D levels. (Best yet, Denmark has the second lowest level of inequality in economic development.)
2. Sweden. This country ranks sixth for royalty receipts and spends more than all but one nation on R&D, at 3.1 percent of GDP. (Equality’s big, too: Sweden ranks fourth here.)
3. United States of America. It’s not just an American Dream: spending on R&D is about 2.2 percent of GDP, and income from royalty receipts (we’re talking about intellectual property here) is tops, totaling almost $92 billion. One downside: there’s a bit of backlash in perception, thanks to recent “over-regulation” by “all levels of government.”
4. Finland. This nation ranks among the top 10 in R&D expenditure levels in proportion to GDP, and ranks 11th for ICT goods, which comprise 16.5 percent of total goods exports. Plus, Finland claims low startup costs and a great perception by the public that the country is open for business.
5. Britain. The United Kingdom claims the third highest royalty receipts in the world, at $13.9 billion per year, and places in the top 20 for both its R&D expenditure and ICT exports. The U.K. has the seventh lowest startup costs in the world, and is among the top 20 for equality.
6. Norway. This country topped Legatum’s Prosperity Index. It has reasonably low startup costs, the 18th lowest, and has royalty receipts that total $642 million. It’s R&D expenditure is 1.7 percent, comparatively high. Above all, perception is key: 93 percent of Norwegians believe hard work will pay off later.
7. Ireland. The Emerald Isle is among the top 20 nations in terms of royalty receipts, R&D expenditure and ICT exports. Plus, startup costs for a business are the third lowest in the world.
8. Singapore. Entrepreneurship is high here, with royalty receipts totaling close to $840 million — that’s 15th in the world. Positive perception is through the roof, and extremely low business startup costs — less than 1 percent of GNI per capita — make perception a reality.
9. Iceland. Iceland invests 2.8 percent of its GDP in R&D, the fifth highest in the world. Plus, equality and public perception are high, creating a welcoming environment for startups.
10. Canada. Canada’s high rate of R&D spending and its significant royalty receipts indicate a favorable environment for entrepreneurial activity, as does the nation’s lean toward equality. Plus, business startup costs are just 0.4 percent of GNI per capita — the fourth lowest in the world.

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