Croatia has moved up on the Global Innovation Index (GII) from 42nd to 40th place among 141 countries, the A.T. Kearney consulting firm said in a press release on Monday.
This year the ranking was topped by Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States.
Viewed by seven main evaluation criteria, Croatia scored best on creativity and worst on market development, the press release said.
The GII, co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), uses seven main evaluation pillars with 79 indicators to gauge countries' innovative capabilities based on their institutional framework, human resources, research activities, infrastructure, domestic market and business environment.
According to the press release, the group of top 25 performers – all high income economies – remains largely unchanged. Among the exceptions are the Czech Republic, which placed 24th, and Ireland, which made it into the top 10, finishing 8th.
"Recognising the role of innovation as a growth driver in companies and the public sector is a chance to further develop competitive advantages and create an active national innovation environment. Establishing closer links between large companies and small companies and startups in innovation development and trading can be a key factor that will shift the economy into a higher gear," A.T. Kearney Vice-President Marko Derca said.
However, it will be hard for countries in the middle of the ranking to make it to the top because that requires numerous changes. In order to make further progress and join the group of leading innovators, Croatia will have to encourage innovation, among other things, "by promoting cooperation between different industries and exploiting opportunities offered by digitisation," Derca said, adding that it would be necessary to increase the amount of incentives for innovation and connect the public and private sectors.