Innovation resilience during the pandemic–and beyond

In September 2020, six months after COVID-19 had been declared a pandemic, the 13th annual Global Innovation Index (GII) predicted that innovation spending would hold strong in the year ahead. We made this assertion based on years of analysis: through its ranking of the innovation performance of more than 130 economies around the world and analysis of global innovation trends, the GII has, since 2007, provided a benchmark for the state of innovation investment and related activities. For example, GII analyses found that during the 2008–09 global financial crisis, several economies experienced no aggregate R&D declines, and for others, the fall was short-lived.

Today, despite the devastating human toll and economic shock of the pandemic, R&D expenditure, IP filings, and venture capital (VC) deals have continued to grow, building on peak pre-pandemic levels. The 2021 GII report, released in October, reflects how profoundly innovation has shaped and sustained our world. Perhaps the most visible recent example has been the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines. Elsewhere, digital innovations have led to solutions that helped the public and private sectors to manage through successive waves of the pandemic—contact-tracing tools and apps and diagnostics, among others.

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