Australia has ranked 22nd out of 56 countries in how its domestic policies support worldwide innovation, according to a recent analysis by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).
The global technology think tank assessed 90 per cent of the world’s economy and the extent to which on a per-capita basis, their economic and trade policies contribute to and detract from innovation globally.
The G-20 countries that ranked above Australia included Japan, the US, France and Germany and the G-20 countries that ranked below Australia were Italy, Mexico, India, Argentina, Indonesia, Turkey, China, South Africa, Russia, Brazil and Canada.
Finland came in first place and Argentina ranked last.
The report authors examined 14 factors that not only support innovation domestically, but all have positive spillover effects globally such as supportive tax systems and investment in research and development and human capital.
Additionally, 13 factors that have negative spillover effects were investigated, such as forced localization and weak intellectual property protection.
The ITIF said that Australia’s ranking reflected a combination of policies that the report found to be 23rd best in their positive contribution to the global innovation ecosystem and also the 21st least damaging.
ITIF vice president for global innovation and co-author, Stephen Ezell, said robust innovation is essential for economic growth and progress.
“As countries increasingly vie for leadership in the innovation economy, they can implement policies that try to benefit only themselves but harm the production of innovation in the rest of the world. Or they can implement win-win policies that bolster their own innovation capacity while also generating positive spillovers for the entire global economy. For innovation to flourish around the world, we need a system that is doing much more of the latter,” he continued.
ITIF president and report co-author, Robert D. Atkinson, claimed the world is significantly under-producing innovation that is needed to tackle global challenges, including boosting productivity, improving health, and protecting the environment.
“Policymakers need to better understand and more aggressively push back when countries try to advance their own interests at the expense of global innovation. The world’s leaders need to articulate a more robust vision of commonly shared prosperity based on substantial increases in worldwide productivity and more innovative products and services.”
The report concluded that leading nations should establish a Global Science and Innovation Foundation to fund scientific and engineering research on key global challenges, particularly through collaborative international research.