Top ten ranking
The survey considers 111 separate criteria which are grouped in 12 “pillars of competitiveness “which are in turn summarised into three sub-indices.
The top ten countries in the GCI are again dominated by Europe. Heading the rankings in 2011 is Switzerland, repeating its success of the previous year followed by Singapore. The top EU countries are Sweden in third place followed by Finland in fourth. The USA takes fifth position falling one position from 2010.
The Netherlands and Germany are in equal sixth place in the overall rankings, the Netherlands improving its position for the second year in a row. Also equal in rank on the eighth place are Denmark and Japan while the United Kingdom has moved up into tenth place.
The WEF groups each country into one of five groups according to the state of their economic development. The most developed countries (35 of the 142 surveyed), are described as “innovation driven”, whose future economic growth depends on their Business Sophistication (the quality of business networks and supporting industries and quality and quality of the supplier base) and Innovation public and private investment in research and development and the ability to convert that results into new products).
What defines success?
Just what makes Switzerland so successful year after year? In short its success is due to a combination of factors rather than excellence in any single criteria. Switzerland tops the rankings in innovation, technological readiness and labour market efficiency. In addition to these successes, all the ingredients for excellent research and innovation seem to be not just present, but are also cooperating. As WEF puts it, “Switzerland’s scientific research institutions are among the world’s best, and the strong collaboration between its academic and business sectors, combined with high company spending on R&D, ensures that much of this research is translated into marketable products and processes that are reinforced by strong intellectual property protection”.
It is not just excelling in different items on the long list of criteria, but making sure that the elements that influence and reinforce one another, are aligned and cooperate in a way that makes doing business in that particular sector highly attractive with a high chance of success. Imagine spending all your energy and money in innovation and R&D, then finding out that the intellectual property protection is a nightmare, or being attracted to a country with superb infrastructure, but without affordable land and enough square metres to build your warehouse. It is the cross sector cooperation to ensure a smooth process throughout a whole industry or economic sector that gives you the competitive advantage world-wide.
The full report can be downloaded from: http://bit.ly/dN63V4