Depending on who you ask, Singapore is either one of the most innovative countries in the world or underperforming in that aspect.
The 2011 Global Competitiveness Reportby the World Economic Forum clearly thinks Singapore falls in the latter category. While it scores highly for lack of corruption, government efficiency (1st for both), and infrastructure (3rd), it lags behind for adoption of latest technologies (10th), measures that support sophistication of companies (15th), and capacity for innovation (22nd).
But overall, it is still the second most competitive economy in the world, behind Switzerland.
This means that while Singapore is a great place to do business, firms here have not quite caught up with the world’s best when it comes to improving their own processes and developing more innovative products. Government operations, on the other hand, have been on the cutting edge of technology, scoring second globally in government procurement of advanced technology products.
The survey gathers over 13,000 valid responses from 142 economies, for an average of 98 respondents per country, and captures the respondents’ perceptions of their countries.
These findings are somewhat in agreement with INSEAD’s own Global Innovation Index, which ranks Singapore highly for investing resources into developing innovation but penalizes it for the creation of knowledge and the production of creative goods and services.
In fact, when comparing the dividends reaped with the investment made, Singapore ranks an inefficient 94th.
Despite this blemish, there’s a lot of good news for Singapore. The Global Competitiveness Report compares the country quite favorably against other innovation-driven economies. It’s just that Singapore falls short of its own lofty standards.
But the government has only just begun to recognize the important of innovation, and they are now earnestly encouraging firms to innovate by pumping in money to support entrepreneurs and increase productivity in the workplace. Time will tell if these measures have been effective.