PARTICIPANTS IN the Israel Tech Challenge work during the 36-hour hackathon in Tel Aviv this week.
(photo credit: ISRAEL TECH CHALLENGE)
Israel is the world’s fifth-most innovative country, according to the 2015 Bloomberg Global innovation index.
South Korea topped the list, followed by Japan, Germany and Finland ahead of Israel, while the United States was just behind it at No. 6.
The index was comprised based on rankings in six subfields: Research and development, in which Israel ranked No. 2, manufacturing (21), hi-tech companies (11), post-secondary education (4), research personnel (4) and patents (31).
The report said that R&D didn’t do a country any good if it was stuck in the lab, and that good systems of tech transfer to incentivize researchers to commercialize their work were important. The index used the percentage of GDP devoted to R&D to rank the countries.
Korea was the only country to best Israel in this field.
The next most impressive statistic is arguably one in which Israel did not breach the top 10: hi-tech companies. The index simply added up the number of locally-based, public hi-tech companies as a share of the world total, meaning that the measure did not account for a country’s size. Unsurprisingly, the United States was far and away the winner in the category; nine of the world’s largest 10 tech companies by market capitalization are based there (the last, Tencent, is in China).
“You can argue that this factor is unfair to small nations,” the report said.
Israel, with its population of just over 8 million, still came in at No. 11.
The country ranked 4th for both post-secondary education, based on factors like what percentage was enrolled in post-secondary education and how much of the labor force had doctoral degrees, and research personnel, which looked at how many people (including PhD students) were engaged in research per million.
Israel did less well on the measures of patents, which looked at how many patents were filed for every million people in the population and every million dollars spent on research and development; and in manufacturing, which looked at how much added value per capita there was in the country’s manufacturing sector.
The report did not take into account the role played by excessive regulation, bureaucracy and red tape, though Israel fares poorly in the most wellknown index on that issue. It ranked an unimpressive No. 40 in the 2015 World Bank Ease of Doing Business index.