France strengthens its position as one of the most innovative countries

On Monday, September 20, 2021, the Geneva-based WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) published its World Innovation Index, which ranks the most innovative countries in the world. Switzerland, Sweden, and the United States remain at the top of the ranking, while France confirms its progress by taking the 11th place (+ 1 since 2020, + 5 since 2019).

Innovation is doing well despite the pandemic

While the COVID19 pandemic has caused a decline in many areas, including the Human Development Index (HDI), it has boosted economies in the area of innovation. This is shown by the World Innovation Index study published annually since 2007 by the World Intellectual Property Organization ( WIPO).

This year’s Global Innovation Index shows us that despite of the massive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on lives and livelihoods, many sectors have shown remarkably resilience - especially those that have embraced digitalization, technology and innovation," said WIPO Director General Daren Tang.

Switzerland, Sweden, the United States of America and the United Kingdom remain at the top of the innovation rankings, as they have been for the past three years. The Republic of Korea makes the biggest leap this year, taking 5th place among the most innovative economies ( up + 5 places).

Sixteen of the 25 top-ranked countries are European and seven of them are in the top 10. Switzerland is the world leader in innovation for the eleventh year in a row; it has been among the top three innovation economies along with Sweden (2) for over 10 years. In all, 10 European economies moved up in the rankings this year, starting with France (11) and Estonia (21).

To read the full report:

Rapport de l'OMPI sur les pays les plus innovants en 2021
Rapport de l’OMPI sur les pays les plus innovants en 2021
(PDF - 4.2 Mb)

These good results are the consequence of an increase in investment in innovation and the awareness of the importance of generating new ideas to emerge from the pandemic and ensure economic growth once it is over.

However, the effects of the crisis have been very uneven across sectors. Companies producing software, Internet technologies and communication tools, computer and electrical equipment, or pharmaceuticals and biotechnology products have increased their innovation spending.

In particular, advances in cutting-edge technologies are very promising, the best example being the speed with which vaccines against COVID-19 have been developed.

On the contrary, companies in sectors hard hit by the pandemic response - namely transportation and travel - have reduced their spending on innovation.

More informations on WIPO

France is getting closer to the top 10

In 2021, France gains one place in the ranking of the most innovative countries to rank 11th. It is ahead of China, Japan and Israel and is close to the top 10.

This performance can be explained by substantial investments in the areas of creation (value of French brands worldwide, industrial designs), human capital (education, quality of universities and international publications), research and development (number of researchers, quality of research), and infrastructure.

The government has also strengthened its support for the FrenchTech sector. As of October 2020, more than one billion has been invested in the development of start-ups.

In June 2021, President Emmanuel Macron announced that 7 billion euros would be invested to make France the leading European nation in health innovation.

Last updated on: 20 September 2021