Europe’s Innovation Landscape Remains Boring

EU_innovation_by_countryEurope is slowly closing its innovation gap with the U.S.

But national innovation rankings within Europe remain stable, according to the European Union (EU).

Released today, the EU’s annual Innovation Union Scorecard for 2014 measures innovation in the EU and other European countries.

The report also measures their innovation against efforts in Japan, South Korea and America.

All three outstrip the EU: Korea and the US by 17%, and Japan by 13%. Within Europe, Switzerland also beats the 28 EU countries.

Innovation is measured under 8 dimensions.

  • Enablers capture the main drivers of innovation performance external to the firm and cover 3 innovation dimensions: Human resources; Open, excellent and attractive research systems; Finance and support.
  • Firm activities capture the innovation efforts at the level of the firm, grouped in 3 innovation dimensions: Firm
    investments; Linkages & entrepreneurship; and Intellectual assets.
  • Outputs cover the effects of firms’ innovation activities in 2 innovation dimensions: Innovators; and Economic effects.

A graph showing Ireland’s progress between 2006 (lightest bar) and 2013 (darkest bar) is below.


Darkest bars are 2013. Lightest bar is 2006.

Although falling above the European average, Ireland is classed as an “innovation follower.” It got top scores in three dimensions but lagged in others.

Finance & Support, for example, has been traditionally low for Ireland. But firm investments have fallen drastically over the last two years, the report said. However, that matches the overall trend for those years.

According to the report:

Irish innovation performance has experienced some declines in the time period considered but the general trend has been upward. The performance relative to that of the EU has declined over time, from 115% in 2006 to 110% in 2013. Although Ireland experienced an increase in its innovation performance, the growth rate of that performance was below that of the EU.

Ireland innovation relative to EU

EU innovation measurement framework

Images taken from Innovation Union Scorecard 2014 report.