Global Innovation Index: A Guide for Students

“Think Different”: Innovate your future!

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, adopted the campaign “Think Different” in 1997 to re-brand the public image of Apple as the world’s leading pioneer in technological innovation – and it seemed to work pretty well!

The concept of the campaign is mainly about innovation. However, to innovate, you need to first gather the key intelligence necessary to reaching your objective. In China, we have a saying: even the most skilled housewives cannot cook delicious meals without the rice. The Global Innovation Index is, in my humble opinion, a really major piece of “rice” that you could use to “Think Different” and innovate the most exciting future for yourself.  Here’s how…

Stand out from the crowd

Many students have been racking their brains to figure out the best way to “stand out from the crowd” in increasingly competitive regional and global job markets. Choosing the right university, course and experiences to support a life-long career and self-fulfillment has certainly never seemed easy.

The majority of us look at factors such as university rankings, course descriptions, employers, salaries and job availability, to ultimately form a reasonable decision.

However, there are other related issues we should take into consideration when deciding where to study, to unleash our full potential. The overall culture, infrastructure and economic environment of a country to support innovation can have a big impact on the global value of the education you receive and what you go on to achieve. And this is where the Global Innovation Index can help.

About the Global Innovation Index (GII)

The Global Innovation Index (GII) was initiated by prestigious business school INSEAD in 2007. Through joint efforts with Cornell University, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, the GII has become established as one of the most important and respected frameworks to evaluate key innovation indicators which underlie the rise of new industries, job creation and long-term economic growth.

This year, the GII worked closely with several knowledge partners, including Booz & Company, the Confederation of Indian Industry and Huawei, as well as an advisory board of 14 eminent international experts. In addition, QS was invited as the only world university rankings organization to provide data contributing to the index.

Measuring innovation: 84 indicators

The GII has produced a holistic framework for measuring innovation, looking at seven main categories: Institutions, Human Capital and Research, Infrastructure, Market Sophistication, Business Sophistication, Knowledge and Technology Outputs, and Creative Outputs.  Each of the main categories is supported by a further 3-5 indicators, making an overall framework of 84 indicators.

How can you use the Global Innovation Index as a student?

1. Get an overview of universities in different countries

For the majority of us, who are interested in pursuing a bachelor, Master or MBA program globally, a look at the index’s Category 2 “Human Capital and Research” could be useful. The category is made up of three main parts: Education (elementary and secondary levels), Tertiary Education (further and higher education), and Research & Development.

There are four key indicators included in the Tertiary Education sub-category, all of which are popular topics of discussion in the world of transnational education: enrolment in tertiary education (access to education for students from poorer backgrounds), graduates in science, engineering, manufacturing and construction subjects (we normally say “STEM” subjects in the UK); and the inbound and gross outbound mobility of tertiary students (student exchange).

2. Discover research and development hotspots

Some of you might just be as inquisitive as I am, and therefore decide to pursue a research degree like a PhD. For curious minds like you, a look at the Research & Development section of the Global Innovation Index could shed light on which countries appear to currently have the strongest R&D abilities.

The R&D part is measured by: number of researchers, expenditure and the quality of scientific and research institutions. This last point is measured by the average score of the country’s top three universities in the 2012 QS World University Rankings.

The QS ranking is based on six indicators: 40% academic reputation (from QS’s global survey of academics), 10% employer reputation (from the QS Global Employer Survey – the world’s largest employer survey), 20% citations per faculty (from Scopus), 20% faculty-student ratio, 5% proportion of international students, and 5% proportion of international faculty.

3. Choose a country for your studies

If you’re just starting to consider where in the world to pursue your studies, a look at the detailed profiles of 142 countries in the Appendix I Country/Economy Profile could be really insightful. It evaluates each country based on the 84 indicators, with ratings and rankings for each indicator. This is based on data collected from an extensive range of databases available from authoritative NGOs, intergovernmental agencies and corporations around the world.

The key strengths and weaknesses of each country are also highlighted through the use of a solid or hollow circle. This could help you to gain a more in-depth understanding of the countries that could be most suitable to support your needs.

4. Plan your long-term career

If you’re interested in a holistic and in-depth understanding about how the world economy will evolve in the next 5-10 years, and which subject area your should choose to maintain a long-term competitive edge, I would suggest having a quick look at the Appendix II Data Table to get a general idea about what the index includes. Also, the detailed analysis of the index in Chapter One “The Global Innovation Index 2013: Local Dynamics Keep Innovation Strong in the Face of Crisis” could answer most of your questions about the index if you have any.

Good luck with your research, I hope you discover what a useful resource the Global Innovation Index can be, whichever stage you’re at!

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