Christopher Adams

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

NZ ranks midway for innovation

R&D intensity and productivity are where we fall behind, says commentator.

The list evaluated nations based on seven factors including Research and Development (R&D) intensity, productivity, tertiary efficiency and patent activity. Photo / Thinkstock
The list evaluated nations based on seven factors including Research and Development (R&D) intensity, productivity, tertiary efficiency and patent activity. Photo / Thinkstock

New Zealand has been ranked 28th in an index of the world's 50 most innovative countries.

The list, compiled by global news and information provider Bloomberg, evaluated nations based on seven factors including Research and Development (R&D) intensity, productivity, tertiary efficiency and patent activity.

New Zealand ranked 30th for R&D intensity, 25th for productivity, 11th for tertiary activity and third for patent activity.

In the overall index, this country only managed to rank just ahead of China - a country not renowned for its high tech capabilities - which came 29th.

Technology commentator Peter Griffin said 28th was about where he would expect New Zealand to rank on such a list.

R&D intensity and productivity were two areas where this country was lacking, he said.

"We aspire to be like other small innovative nations like Finland and Singapore - but until we sort those two things out, we'll always struggle in such world rankings."

Griffin said it was interesting that according to Bloomberg, New Zealand's rate of patent activity was so high.

"Traditionally [patent activity] has been seen as a measure of innovation, but increasingly companies in countries like the US, which is the world leader in innovation, see patents as less important than speed to market and first mover advantage - this is particularly true of software and dotcom start-ups," Griffin said. "While patents are a good form of intellectual property protection, maybe our relatively good performance by this measure says something about the state of our knowledge economy - we aren't innovating as much in the fast-moving digital economy."

Israel, one of the hotbeds of global tech activity, was ranked 32nd in Bloomberg's index.

Australia came in at 22nd place.

The United States was ranked first, followed by South Korea, Germany, Finland and Sweden.

South Africa managed 50th place, just ahead of Belarus and Macedonia.

Top innovators

(1) USA
(2) South Korea
(3) Germany
(4) Finland
(5) Sweden
(6) Japan
(7) Singapore
(8) Austria
(9) Denmark
(10) France
(22) Australia
(28) New Zealand.

- NZ Herald

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