Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

India Inc needs to up R&D investment: Francis Gurry

Director General of the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization on the Global Innovation Index rankings

Published: Jul 4, 2017 06:14:03 AM IST
Updated: Jul 7, 2017 12:14:32 PM IST

India Inc needs to up R&D investment: Francis Gurry
Francis Gurry

Switzerland has topped the Global Innovation Index (GII) rankings for the seventh consecutive year while India has moved up six places to 60th position on this year’s list. In an interview to Forbes India, Francis Gurry, director general of the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization, one of the sponsors of the GII, speaks about the results:  
On bridging the innovation gap:
For several decades, innovation was dominated by North America and Europe. Now, China is an example of a middle-income economy creating change, having moved from 25 to 22. We also see significant movement from others; for example, India from 81 to 60 in three years. Innovation is a long-term game. You shouldn’t expect change overnight.
On Switzerland’s dominance:
Switzerland has an even performance across all the indicators that we measure. When you look at large, diverse countries like the US, China and India, it’s more difficult to achieve that evenness.

On the secret to innovation success:
High level of political focus on innovation is important. In countries like the US, this has been the standard for decades. PM [Narendra] Modi frequently speaks about innovation and considers it essential to the success of programmes like Make in India and Digital India. This high-level policy focus is an essential ingredient to success.  
On India’s next steps:
India has the right strategic direction. Now, it’s crucial to get business investment in research and development (R&D). There are great research and education institutions in India, but the amount invested by the private sector in R&D is rather low. Getting that commitment from the private sector is key.

(This story appears in the 21 July, 2017 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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