SOUMITRA DUTTA: Every year, we choose a certain theme to focus on within the Global Innovation Index report. This year's theme is on winning and global innovation. And really, in many ways, the Global Innovation Index captures the sense of the notion that innovation will become a global phenomena-- the different countries innovating in different ways. And national governments have to start taking a more broader perspective innovation on a more global basis.
So China, for example, has invested tremendously in education. And there's an enormous increase in terms of the qualified university graduates who are coming out of Chinese universities. There's a lot of investment and innovation happening in Chinese organizations. Today China ranks very highly on business sophistication. China is very high on the quality of innovation today. Given all the strategic focus the Chinese government has put on innovation today, innovation is right there in the national plan of China as one of the top strategic priorities for the entire country.
Latin America is a region where, clearly, we believe that there is untapped potential for the economies to do more and succeed more in innovation. Latin America as a region benefited tremendously when commodity prices were high. Today when commodity prices are lower, many of them are suffering from a very difficult economic climate. And in an environment where many of these countries haven't invested as much in innovation and developing the technology capability and innovation in the past when the times were better economically, today they're having a much harder time in terms of reviving and building their economies for a future success.
I think Latin American leaders need to make innovation a stronger priority in the national policies. And the region would benefit from more regional collaboration, because coming together, they can share resources and they can, in fact, invest more in strategic efforts, and rise, and become more competitive globally in innovation.
So in Africa, we have seen a very positive development over much of the last decade, where we have seen many countries invest and step up their investments in innovations significantly. And as a result, many economies have been doing very well compared to their peers on the same GDP level. Now, in recent years with the decline of commodity prices, that has put some pressure on some of these countries. And there's a necessity for these countries to keep on investing in innovation. Else, the momentum will be lost, and a stop-and-go approach really will not be very beneficial to the long-term success.
One good point to note in Africa is that even today, some oil-importing nations like Kenya and Rwanda are still outperforming their peers on a GDP comparison basis. So you still have very positive signs in Africa, but the important message out there is to not stop now, but keep on investing in innovation and all the different elements that made them successful in innovation in the last few years, and do more of it in the future.
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Soumitra Dutta, co-editor of the Global Innovation Index and dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, talks about winning in global innovation. The Global Innovation Index ranks 128 nations on their innovation capability and results.