Innovation Indicator 2020

The Innovation Indicator is a regular comparative study of innovation strength, first published in 2005. It records 38 individual indicators and compares them with the world's leading industrialised and emerging economies in a ranking in the fields of industry, science, education, state and society as well as in an overall indicator. The Innovation Indicator serves as the basis for innovation policy decisions.

The innovation indicator compiles a ranking of the world's most important innovative nations. This is intended to provide an empirical overview of Germany's specific strengths and weaknesses with regard to its innovation competitors. Innovation policy recommendations are made based on the evidence provided by a detailed analysis of the five subsystems industry, science, education, governance and society.

The innovation indicator is an indicator-based empirical study, which is based in particular on the generation of composite indicators. Selecting the indicators is based on the latest statistical methods of panel data econometrics. The robustness of the results is tested using Monte Carlo simulations.

Within the framework of the innovation indicator, a summary of the essential findings is published. The following are the key results for 2018:

As one of the most innovative countries in the world, Germany holds fourth place – but again does not achieve a top ranking in any of the sub-areas of industry, science, education, state and society. Singapore takes the top spot and is ahead of Switzerland for the first time. Singapore scores 73 points in 2018’s Innovation Indicator, one point more than Switzerland. With 55 points, Germany remains in 4th place behind Belgium. The gap to its small western neighbour has now increased to five points. The reason for the larger gap to the top is the lack of dynamics in some sub-indicators. For example, Germany now only ranks 9th in the sub-indicator industry. The BRICS countries, which were predicted a golden future in the 2000s, continue to occupy the lower places in the Innovation Indicator. China, which ranks 25th of 35 nations, is still the best performer. After years of decline, the USA was able to improve to 6th place.


07.09.2019 – 29.02.2020


BDI The Voice of German Industry


ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research