Innovation: German companies are most innovative in the EU [ranking]



Eurostat just released statistics about innovation in European companies. Specifically, it looked at the percentage of enterprises that innovated between 2008 and 2010.

Be aware that “innovation activity” is defined very broadly in the survey: means product and process innovation as well as organisational and marketing innovation.

Top five innovative countries in Europe

The top five countries in the ranking are Germany, Luxemburg, Iceland, Belgium and Portugal. I’m a bit surprised by the poor showing of the UK (only 44,2 percent of the surveyed enterprises innovated in 2008 – 2010).

1 Germany 79.3
2 Luxembourg 68.1
3 Iceland 63.8
4 Belgium 60.9
5 Portugal 60.3
6 Sweden 59.6
7 Ireland 59.5
8 Estonia 56.8
9 Netherlands 56.7
10 Austria 56.5
11 Italy 56.3
12 Finland 56.2
13 Denmark 54.7
14 France 53.5
15 Czech Republic 51.7
16 Serbia 51.7
17 Turkey 51.4
18 Slovenia 49.4
19 Cyprus 46.2
20 United Kingdom 44.2
21 Norway 43.5
22 Croatia 42.4
23 Malta 41.5
24 Spain 41.4
25 Slovakia 35.6
26 Lithuania 34.5
27 Hungary 31.1
28 Romania 30.8
29 Latvia 29.9
30 Poland 28.1
31 Bulgaria 27.1
32 Greece :

Top five countries innovating with Chinese or Indian partners

Another interesting graphic is who is cooperating internationally, and with whom. Finland is the country that innovates in partnerships with China and India most:

1 Finland 8.9
2 Sweden 6.8
3 Luxembourg 6.0
4 Slovenia 6.0
5 Cyprus 5.5

It appears that German companies prefer to do their innovation by themselves: the country only comes in in the 23rd spot if you look at the percentage of companies partnering up with others.

This is consistent with the findings of Whiteboard contributor dr. Hermann Simon, who did extensive research into the ‘hidden champion’s, extremely innovative German market leaders (I urge you to read his great articles to get a better understanding).

Top ten countries innovating with US partners:

Mostly smaller countries, it appears:

1 Slovenia 44.7
2 Cyprus 62.3
3 Belgium 42.3
4 Luxembourg 32.2
5 Ireland 28.5
6 France 36.1
7 Norway 30.6
8 Austria 51.0
9 Latvia 29.1
10 Slovakia 34.7

Top ten countries that cooperate on innovation

Again, enterprises in smaller countries appear to be more likely to cooperate on innovation with institutions or enterprises from other countries:

1 Cyprus 62.3
2 Austria 51.0
3 Slovenia 44.7
4 Lithuania 43.3
5 Hungary 43.2
6 Belgium 42.3
7 Estonia 42.1
8 Finland 39.8
9 Denmark 39.7
10 Sweden 38.8

All in all, only 27 % of the enterprises in Europe partner up with either universities, public research institutes or other enterprises to innovate. Almost three quarters prefer to tackle their innovation in house.

I’m also a bit surprised by the fact that Italian companies seem reluctant to work together to innovate (only 12 %). The Italian legal system has specific incentives for even small firms to form so called “grids” to innovate and internationalize, as contributor Zuzanna Brocka wrote here recently.

Do you see more here? Let us know!

via EUROPA via @babgi /Photo: Wolfgang Staudt, Flickr

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About the author

Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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