Sunday, March 29, 2009

South Korea Ranks at the Top of Global Innovation Indices

Two recently released reports on global innovation show Korea near the top of the world's most innovative countries. In a report produced jointly by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) of the United States, and the Manufacturing Institute (MI), Korea ranked second among 110 countries in the global innovation index measuring business outcomes of innovation as well as governments' ability to encourage and support innovation through public policy. The report looks at a host of new policy indicators for innovation, including tax incentives and policies for immigration, education and intellectual property.

Among the top 20 countries in terms of GDP, Korea secured the first position in the innovation index, followed by the U.S., Japan, Sweden, the Netherlands and Canada. The report cites four critical factors that lead to innovation success ― idea generation, structured processes, leadership, and skilled workers ― and stresses that government must support these efforts through effective policies. The BCG study comprised a survey of more than 1,000 senior executives from leading U.S. companies across all industries and a comparison of the “innovation friendliness” of 110 countries.

Further solidifying South Korea’s place among the world’s innovation leaders, the country jumped from 19th to 6th place overall in the 2008-2009 Global Innovation Index (GII), a study jointly published in late January by global top-five business school INSEAD and the Confederation of Indian Industry. Published for the second year, the GII appraises countries’ level of innovation readiness, focusing on the obstacles preventing governments, businesses and individuals from maximizing the benefits of innovation.

Country rankings in the GII are determined following an analysis of several parameters including human capacity, infrastructure, business sophistication, knowledge, and institutions and policies.

According to the report, among the 130 countries evaluated in the study, South Korea increased its position in the rankings by the largest margin due to new policies put in place by the government to encourage a shift from a labor-intensive manufacturing economy to one based on skills using human resources to catalyze technological change. The study also noted the effect that establishing techno-parks, technology centers and business incubators has had on the country’s drive to become an innovation leader, as well as a government focus on procuring advanced technology products and a high level of spending on R&D in the private sector.

Invest KOREA is Korea’s national investment promotion agency, mandated to support the entry and successful establishment of foreign business into Korea. Invest KOREA provides comprehensive one-stop investment-related services to enable foreign companies to maximize the benefits of Korea’s investment environment through the agency’s headquarters in Seoul and at 39 Korea Business Centers (KBCs) located around the world. ◦

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