Not the Usual Suspects

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Innovation is good, right? You'll get no objections from me – though, to paraphrase the late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart on pornography, while I think I know it when I see it, the definition of innovation is mighty hard to pin down. That hasn't stopped a pretty impressive crew of academics from Cornell and Insead (the French business school), along with a UN Agency (the World Intellectual Property Organization), from rushing in where this editor fears to tread.

The Global Innovation Index ranks 128 countries on both their output of innovation and their "efficiency" of innovation – a measure of output relative to inputs. There are few surprises in the former, save for an apparent bias in favor of small, ethnically homogeneous countries. But the rankings in innovation efficiency are pretty striking. Here are the top 25 innovators, along with another dozen that caught my eye for one reason or another.

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