From the Ed­i­tor-in -Chief

Switzer­land re­mains the world’s most in­no­va­tive coun­try

Business Sphere - - CONTENTS -

Switzer­land, Swe­den, the Nether­lands, U.S. and UK are the world's most in­no­va­tive coun­tries ac­cord­ing to a new re­port by pro­duced by Cor­nell Univer­sity, INSEAD and the World In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WIPO). Now in its 10 edi­tion, the Global In­no­va­tion In­dex sur­veys 130 economies us­ing dozens of metrics - from patent fil­ings to ed­u­ca­tion spend­ing - for a high­level look at the in­no­va­tive ac­tiv­ity that in­creas­ingly drives eco­nomic and so­cial growth. Key find­ings for 2017 show the rise of In­dia as an emerg­ing in­no­va­tion cen­ter, high in­no­va­tion per­for­mance in Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa rel­a­tive to de­vel­op­ment, and an op­por­tu­nity to im­prove in­no­va­tion ca­pac­ity in Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean. The re­port also re­veals that In­done­sia, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore, Thai­land, the Philip­pines and Viet Nam are work­ing to im­prove their level of in­no­va­tion and rank high in a num­ber of im­por­tant in­di­ca­tors re­lated to ed­u­ca­tion, R&D, pro­duc­tiv­ity growth and high-tech ex­ports. Switzer­land leads the rank­ings for the sev­enth con­sec­u­tive year as high-in­come economies take 24 of the top 25 spots. In 2016 China be­came the first-ever mid­dle in­come econ­omy in the top 25 and cur­rently is placed No.22. "In­no­va­tion is the en­gine of eco­nomic growth in an in­creas­ingly knowl­edge-based global econ­omy, but more in­vest­ment is needed to help boost hu­man cre­ativ­ity and eco­nomic out­put," said WIPO di­rec­tor gen­eral Fran­cis Gurry.

"In­no­va­tion can help trans­form the cur­rent eco­nomic up­swing into longer-term growth." In a re­lated an­nounce­ment, more than 260 Rhenus Lo­gis­tics em­ploy­ees from 28 dif­fer­ent coun­tries have been par­tic­i­pat­ing in a cor­po­rate ini­tia­tive to find in­no­va­tive ways to im­prove com­pany pro­cesses and prod­ucts. Next month 16 teams who sur­vived sev­eral pre­lim­i­nary rounds will com­pete to im­ple­ment their in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions in­volv­ing aug­mented re­al­ity, space op­ti­miza­tion, on­line chats with broad­casts as well as new prod­ucts and lo­gis­tics con­cepts. "It was easy to arouse the in­no­va­tive spirit in our em­ploy­ees. They're highly mo­ti­vated when it comes to shap­ing our busi­ness and solv­ing our cus­tomers' prob­lems. They them­selves want to be forces for change," com­mented Tobias Bartz, Rhenus Board and jury mem­ber. Rhenus has busi­ness sites at over 580 lo­ca­tions world­wide and em­ploys more than 28,000 peo­ple. Pic­tured (right) are some of the fi­nal­ists in Bangkok from the com­pany's 'Rhevo' in­no­va­tion project.

Switzer­land ranked world’s most com­pet­i­tive econ­omy

Switzer­land is again top of the class in the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum (WEF)’s Global Com­pet­i­tive­ness In­dex – for the ninth year in a row – nar­rowly ahead of the United States and Sin­ga­pore. It gained its high­est ever score in the past ten years of the WEF rankingex­ter­nal link, thanks to its abil­ity to in­no­vate, its so­phis­ti­cated busi­nesses, and a highly ef­fec­tive labour mar­ket. “Econom ic per­for­mance ben­e­fits from ex­tremely strong fun­da­men­tals in­clud­ing pub­lic health, pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion, and a com­par­a­tively solid macroe­co­nomic en­vi­ron­ment. Its econ­omy has a high level of flex­i­bil­ity, with its labour mar­kets be­ing ranked as the best-func­tion­ing glob­ally,” the au­thors wrote. Like Den­mark, Nor­way, Swe­den, the Nether­lands, and Ger­many, Switzer­land scored high for both labour mar­ket flex­i­bil­ity and pro­tec­tion of work­ers’ rights. “Gov­ern­ments that pur­sue both these ob­jec­tives can achieve ef­fi­cient labour mar­kets as well as low lev­els of in­equal­ity,” the re­port stated. De­spite drop­ping one place for higher ed­u­ca­tion (down to fourth) and fall­ing to sec­ond be­hind New Zealand for tech­no­log­i­cal readi­ness, the alpine na­tion made strong progress in the health and pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion cat­e­gories, climb­ing six places from eighth to sec­ond. Other G20 ma­jor economies in the WEF top 10 in­cluded Ger­many (5), Bri­tain (8) and Ja­pan (9). China is the high­est rank­ing among the BRICS (Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia and China) group of large emerg­ing mar­kets, mov­ing up one rank to 27. As well as in­di­vid­ual com­pet­i­tive rank­ings, the WEF re­port high­lighted the risk of fur­ther fi­nan­cial shocks on the hori­zon, and ar­gued that na­tions were ill­pre­pared for the next wave of in­no­va­tion and au­to­ma­tion. “Ten years on from the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, the prospects for a sus­tained eco­nomic re­cov­ery re­main at risk due to a wide­spread fail­ure on the part of lead­ers and pol­icy-mak­ers to put in place re­forms nec­es­sary to un­der­pin com­pet­i­tive­ness and bring about much-needed in­creases in pro­duc­tiv­ity,” WEF stated.

The World Eco­nomic Fo­rum (WEF) praised Switzer­land for its `highly ef­fec­tive' labour mar­ket

(G.R. KHAT­TAR) Web­site: www. busi­ness­

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