Barcelona Moving Up, Spain Lagging Behind In Global Innovation Index 2013

On Monday, the Global Innovation Index (GII) presented the 6th edition of its annual survey that is developed under the supervision of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Cornell University and INSEAD. The prestigious GII reviews 142 economies around the world, using 84 indicators to measure the key role of innovation as a driver of economic growth, thereby creating a valuable benchmarking tool that is applicable to both developed and emerging economies. In total, the report covers 94.9% of the world’s population and 98.7% of global GDP.Rankings GII

The theme of the GII 2013 is ‘The Local Dynamics of Innovation’, because local innovation matters. It shows the importance of local hubs, after all, these generate connectivity, the groundwork for empowerment and the framework for innovation. ‘Clusters [geographic concentrations of universities, companies, specialized suppliers, service providers, and associated knowledge institutions] have an impact on competitiveness by pooling talent, know-how, research labs,  manufacturing capabilities and concentrating them in a small area. They often specialize in niche markets with a multiplier effect at the national level by sparking a culture of entrepreneurship.’ The good news is that research and innovation spending are surpassing the 2008 levels in most countries, although Spain is still lacking behind. Hopefully this is a sign that the crises is finally coming to an end and the effort to promote change, improvement and long term-transitions can start to flourish. ‘Wherever there are open markets, free-trade policies, and favorable investment environments, capital investment will follow to foster innovation.’ Perhaps this is something that Spain should take into consideration, because the law and bureaucracy is currently unfriendly for foreign talent and investment (this can also be seen in the Barcelona Global Survey).

Spain was ranked in the 26th position this year, after Estonia and before Cyprus, and controlling the 17th position in the European Union. With regards to the efficiency ratio it gets worse:  Spain comes in at 101st. There is a lot to work on, especially since the following metrics will scare away entrepreneurial-minded professionals considering Spain as a place to complete their projects: ease of starting a business (Global Rank: #96), ease of protecting investors (Global Rank: #82) and knowledge diffusion (Global Rank: #74). If knowledge is not shared and validated, investors aren’t able to play an effective role and startups don’t receive the freedom for experimentation and searching for a business model during their incubator periods.  As we discussed at the Barcelona Global event on Monday, we have some very urgent matters to attend to in order to make the country more attractive to talented professionals and entrepreneurs. But on a positive note, Spain’s overall position improved three places since the 2011 survey results. Spain’s strongest metrics this year are ecological sustainability (Global Rank #2), market sophistication (Global Rank #10) and infrastructure (Global Rank #12).

GII Barcelona

But how is the innovation hub in Barcelona performing? In Spain, the drastic difference between the most innovative and least innovative regions is among the highest in Europe and fortunately, Barcelona belongs to the top 20 world destination cities. It holds the 7th position behind Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Singapore, Shanghai and Dublin, taking hold of 2nd place in Europe. This gives rise to a strong global sentiment that Barcelona is growing and is indeed becoming an important innovation hub.

To read the full GII 2013 report, download it here.

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