Emerging Markets Are The Most Innovative Ones

Is America the innovation powerhouse it once was?


Home to six companies in the Top 10 of Forbes ‘Most Innovative’ list, including Salesforce and Amazon, America is still rightly seen as powerhouse in the innovation world.

A brief look over the list and it’s clear that whilst America is still the dominant force, nations such as Thailand, South Africa, Brazil and South Korea are starting to build a presence in the innovation space.

South Korea, despite being a developed country, has attracted considerable praise over the last couple of years due to it’s increasingly influential position in regard to innovation. In a recent Bloomberg Business list called the ’30 Most Innovative Countries’, South Korea came top, with its patent activity and manufacturing capability regarded as close to the best in the world.

As an extension of this, a report by GE identified that whilst many of the report’s participants see America as the world’s most innovative economy, the data would seem to suggest something different. GE gave top marks to Vietnam, Nigeria, China and Brazil, four developing economies, for recognising innovation as a top executive priority.

Interestingly, Nigeria was the biggest champion of Big Data as a source of innovation, whereas India and Vietnam were high up in regard to the importance they place on collaboration as a catalyst for innovation. According to the list, the USA, whilst not at the bottom of any of these lists, is beginning to lose ground on the world’s developing economies.

To add to this, the Boston Consulting Group’s list of ‘Global Challengers’, a run-down of the top 100 companies in emerging markets that are globalising quickly, demonstrates that through collaboration and aggressive M+A strategies they’re making up ground of some of their American counterparts. The featured companies are also happy to adopt new, extreme strategies in order to keep up with localised market trends.

Despite this, it’s true that America has an innovation infrastructure than many countries would be envious of. It’s just that now they have strong competitors (and potentially collaborators) around every corner.


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