- Global innovation measured by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
- Canada ranks 15th on the 2023 annual index, unchanged from the year prior
- In individual indicators, Canada ranked the highest (4th) in the world for market sophistication
Innovation has always driven the world’s top economies to become even stronger. From the Industrial Revolution to the invention of electricity to the dawn of artificial intelligence, new technologies – through innovative research and development – have propelled society to new heights.
The Global Innovation Index (GII) 2023 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) sheds light on which countries abroad are more influential in science, technology, and innovation. Launched in 2007, it aims to identify metrics and methods to capture a picture of societal innovation that is as “complete as possible.”
Canada, a global leader in the aforementioned fields, placed 15th out of 132 countries on this year’s index behind its Western counterparts such as Germany, France and Israel, but ahead of Norway, Australia and Belgium.
Here are the top 25 innovative countries of 2023, according to WIPO. Also see:
- Canada Ranks 11th on Global Peace Index 2023
- Canada Ranks 16th on Index of Economic Freedom 2023
- Canada Ranks 10th on Social Progress Index 2022
Top 25 Global Innovative Countries 2023
Courtesy of Visual Capitalist
- United States
- United Kingdom
- Republic of Korea
- Hong Kong, China
The GII Index 2023 includes 132 nations, representing 92.5% of the world’s population and 97.6% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) in purchasing power relative to current international dollars.
A complete set of 80 indicators are used to determine a country’s innovativeness, which fall into three categories:
- Quantitative/objective/hard data (64 indicators)
- Composite indicators/index data (11 indicators)
- Survey/qualitative/subjective/soft data (5 indicators)
Canada’s Innovation Rankings
Canada scored reasonably high out of 132 participating countries on all indicators. Below is Canada’s ranking for the “main” categories, giving us an idea of the type of indicators used in the GII 2023:
Institutions – 14th
- Institutional environment
- Regulatory environment
- Business environment
Human capital and research – 10th
- Tertiary education
- Research and development (R&D)
Infrastructure – 30th
- Information and communication technologies (ICTs)
- General infrastructure
- Ecological sustainability
Market sophistication – 4th
- Trade, diversification and market scale
Business sophistication – 18th
- Knowledge workers
- Innovation linkages
- Knowledge absorption
Knowledge and technology outputs – 19th
- Knowledge creation
- Knowledge impact
- Knowledge diffusion
Creative outputs – 22nd
- Intangible assets
- Creative goods and services
- Online creativity
Why Innovation Matters
Innovation is crucial for the progress and development of individuals, organizations, governments, and nations as a whole. It involves the development of novel ideas, processes, or products that improve upon existing ones, accelerating technological advancement.
Innovation helps to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and competitiveness, leading to growth and success. By continuously innovating, companies can stay ahead of changing market trends and consumer demands, attract new clientele, and increase revenue. On a governmental level, nations can move forward in reducing environmental impacts associated with society at large in sectors such as manufacturing, transportation, and housing. Additionally, innovation has the potential to solve complex issues and improve the quality of life for individuals and countries around the world.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), innovation is key to climate action by driving down costs and introducing new technologies which help reduce GHG emissions being released into the atmosphere .
In Canada, innovation in the natural resources sector, for example, has led to significant decreases in emissions associated with operations. A few examples:
- Since 1981, Canada’s net agricultural emissions have dropped 10% primarily as a result of innovative management practices in regions where crop production is most intensive 
- Since the early 1990s, Canada’s forestry sector has reduced its total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 70%, largely a result of innovative efficiency improvements and utilizing renewable bioenergy to fuel operations 
- From 2012 to 2021, Canada’s conventional oil and natural gas producers lowered their GHG emissions by 24% while increasing output by 21%, largely a result of innovative practices such as reduction gas flaring volumes 
Canada is a Global Innovation Leader
Canada is more innovative than almost all other major energy exporters worldwide. Below are the GII 2023 rankings for some of the world’s top oil and natural gas exporters:
- United States – 3rd
- Canada – 15th
- Norway – 19th
- Australia – 24th
- United Arab Emirates – 32nd
- Saudi Arabia – 48th
- Brazil – 49th
- Qatar – 50th
- Russian Federation – 51st
- Mexico – 58th
- Iran – 62nd
- Kuwait – 64th
- Oman – 69th
- Kazakhstan – 81st
- Algeria – 119th
- Angola – 132nd
With projected global oil and natural gas demand growth for decades to come, these energy commodities should come from the most responsible suppliers – from places like Canada, with an exceptional ranking on innovation indices like the GII 2023.
Innovation in Canada’s natural resources sector is a prime example of why it should be a go-to supplier. Focused on reducing environmental impacts associated with the extraction and production of natural resources, these industries are leading the way toward a lower-emission future where sustainable supply chains will be invaluable to countries abroad.
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1 - CISION Newswire - Grain Growers of Canada to lead ‘Road to 2050’ net-zero emissions initiative, Date Accessed: September 2022 (https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/grain-growers-of-canada-to-lead-road-to-2050-net-zero-emissions-initiative-811944466.html)
2 - Pulp and Paper Canada. (2023, August). Energy and Emissions Landscape of the Forest Sector. Retrieved from https://www.pulpandpapercanada.com/energy-and-emissions-landscape-of-the-forest-sector/#:~:text=The%20Canadian%20forest%20sector%20took,by%20utilizing%20wood%20processing%20residues. Date Accessed: November 2023.
3 - CBC News. (2023, August). Carbon emissions from conventional oil and gas 'underestimated by half': CAPP report. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/canadian-association-oil-gas-producers-conventional-emissions-1.6953533. Date Accessed: November 2023.
4 - Levin, S. A. (2021, September). Solving Climate Change Requires Innovation, and Lots of It. IMF. Retrieved from https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/fandd/issues/2021/09/bezos-earth-fund-climate-change-innovation-levin. Date Accessed: November 2023.
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