Report shows little innovation in region


Despite high potential in innovation research and work, countries in the region score poorly.

By Katica Djurovic for Southeast European Times in Podgorica -- 02/08/12


"Innovations are essential for modern economy since they open new jobs and increase productivity and growth of the country," Daniela Benavente, of the Global Innovation Index, told SETimes. [Reuters]

The 2012 Global Innovation Index report, published by the French-based INSEAD international business school and the World Intellectual Property Organisation, indicates that regional countries are lacking in terms of innovation, but many are doing better than other nations in the global survey.

Out of 141 countries in the report, only 25 received more than 50 points on a 100-point scale. Slovenia ranked 26th, just below 50 points, and was followed by Croatia (42nd), Bulgaria (43rd), Montenegro, (45th), and Serbia (46th). Further down the list were Romania (52nd), Macedonia (62nd), Greece (66th), Bosnia and Herzegovina (72nd), Turkey (74th) and Albania (90th).

The report ranks countries on the basis of their innovation capabilities and results. For the second consecutive year, Switzerland, Sweden, and Singapore lead in overall innovation performance. Yemen, Niger and Sudan were at the bottom of the rankings.

The report covered 94.4% of the world’s population and GDP.

"Innovations are essential for modern economy since they open new jobs and increase productivity and growth of the country. The reports show that countries which invested in research and innovation grew stronger in the crisis and are exiting it faster," Daniela Benavente, lead researcher and project manager for the Global Innovation Index, told SETimes.

The report, in which innovation is broadly defined, primarily includes innovation in business, factoring in innovation in infrastructure, education and its results -- knowledge, skills impact on productivity and the use of new technologies in work organisation.

Danica Micanovic, secretary of the Technological Innovation Board in the Serbian Commerce Chamber, said that Serbia has taken an upward trend in science and research work, but there is much to be done in innovation.

"We need more system regulations and more money, since our funds for innovation on the national level are limited -- around 0.35% of GDP, far below the average and EU's planned 3%," Micanovic told SETimes.

So far, Serbia has invested in innovation though the EU Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance funds. The Integrated Innovation Support Programme and Innovation Serbia Project, administered by the World Bank, are funded by EU with an aim to support competitiveness and economic growth in Serbia, though strengthening innovation in small- and medium-sized enterprises.

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In Montenegro, the State Directorate for the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises, started a voucher programme for innovation to improve competitiveness and innovation in companies though non-refundable credit.

In co-operation with European Investment Fund and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a regional project for development of small- and medium-sized enterprises in the Western Balkans was launched.

This initiative will have 140m euros though the Western Balkan Investment Framework, to provide funding for innovative small and medium enterprises.

A link to the report is here.

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