Global Innovation Index 2017: Philippines is 73rd


INEXTRICABLE from the concept of intellectual property (IP) is the concept of innovation. Where there is IP, there necessarily is innovation. But the converse may not be always true.

While both are abstract concepts, they have tangible and lasting effects. IP protection provides more value to any innovative endeavor and, depending on the intellectual property right involved, may subsist for periods ranging from five years, seven, 20, to as long as the lifetime of the creator, plus 50 thereafter.

But if IP can be measured in terms of filings, of grants, of registrations, of GDP, to name a few, how can we measure if it is just as abstract? Moreover, considering that the concept of innovation has broadened to beyond our common notion of laboratories and research papers, to include social and business innovations—is innovation even measurable at all?

The Global Innovation Index

THUS, in an attempt to measure the level of innovation of a country (economy), the Global Innovation Index (GII) project was launched in 2007. Now on its 10th edition, the 2017 GII has been released just last week as a result of collaboration between Cornell University, Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires, the World Intellectual Property Organization as copublishers, and their knowledge partners.

The index computes an economy’s performance innovation-wise using the following principle: innovative and creative outputs result from a combination of factors that enable innovation. Stated in GII terms, the level of knowledge and technology outputs, as well as creative outputs—as indicated by intellectual property filings, among others—are influenced by how much the government and the market allow them to thrive.

Components of the Global Innovation Index

THE GII is anchored on two subindices—Innovation Input Sub-index and Innovation Output Sub-index—which are in turn rooted upon “pillars”. Liken the GII to a machine churning out products: what you put in determines what goes out. Here, both input and output subindices are measured to determine the innovation index of an economy.

The five pillars that make up the Innovation Input Sub-index are institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication and business sophistication. On the flipside, the two that comprise the Innovation Output Sub-index are knowledge and technology outputs and creative outputs. Three subpillars then constitute each one. Finally, for the entire 21 subpillars, a total of 81 indicators were measured. More on these will be tackled in the future.

How the Philippines fared across the world

IN the 2017 GII ranking, the Philippines placed 73rd of 127 economies (translated in percentile, the 58th). In 2016 it was 74th/128 (same percentile). The year before that, the country was 83rd/143 (59th percentile).

According to the 2017 GII, our strongest pillar of innovation is our knowledge and technology outputs, ranked 42 or nearing the top third percentile at 33 percent. Next is business sophistication at 45 (35th); infrastructure, at 72 (57th percentile); institutions—political, regulatory and business environments combined—at 89 (70th); market sophistication at 92/128 (72rd); creative outputs at 94 (74th); and, finally, human capital— made of education, tertiary education and research and development efforts—at 95 (75th).

Pitted among our Asean neighbors, excluding Myanmar and Lao PDR (they had incomplete data), we are ranked 6th out of 8. The top 2 are Singapore (6th percentile) and Malaysia (29th). Vietnam, at third place in the Asean region this year, made leaps and bounds, rising to the 37th percentile from last year’s 46th. Thailand (40th) and Brunei Darussalam (56th) come before the Philippines (57 th). Finally, Indonesia (69th) and Cambodia (80th) complete the list.

Among the 27 lower-middle-income economies of the world, we ranked 8th, fol lowing Vietnam, Ukraine, Mongolia, Moldova, Armenia, India and Mexico. Tunisia and Kenya complete the top 10.

Overall, however, the top 10 in the GII in the world are Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, the US, the UK, Denmark, Singapore, Finland, Germany and Iceland. They all belong to high-income economies. Of the 10, eight are from Europe, one is from Asean, and the other is for North America.

More on the Global Innovation Index in the next article.

Josephine Rima-Santiago, Ll. M., is currently the director general of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines. She has had more than 20 years of extensive experience in IP as a public servant, educator, practitioner and researcher. E-mail:

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