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U.S. loses innovation crown to … Iceland?


Once upon a time—actually, it was just last year—the U.S. was the world innovation champion, according to an annual report by INSEAD and the Confederation of Indian Industry. In this year’s study, however, the U.S. slumps to 11th place. Perhaps even more surprising, BusinessWeek reports, is the new No. 1: Iceland. Soumitra Dutta, an INSEAD professor of business and technology, who oversaw the survey, theorizes that size matters—but in this case, it’s the smaller, the better. It appears that smaller, homogeneous developed countries can more easily unite to support policies, institutions, and infrastructure that promote innovation. The report, financed by Canon India and released on March 3, evaluates 132 countries. Researchers used data from a number of sources, including the World Economic Forum, the World Bank, and the UN, to gauge innovation inputs—things such as education and business climate—as well as outputs to quantify scientific and creative advances. The U.S. drops out of the top 10 because it isn’t sufficiently providing many of the inputs, or what the study calls “pillars of innovation.” It ranks 22 in political environment, 21 in regulatory environment, 22 in K-12 education, 22 in technology infrastructure, and 24 in exports and employment. “The U.S. is unable to create a coherent public agenda,” Dutta says…

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