China and India will become the world leaders in innovation during the next decade, according to an international survey released by AstraZeneca (London). The survey results comprised 6000 respondents from six countries (i.e., China, India, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States), and the overall consensus was that China will be the most innovative country by 2020, followed by India. Survey respondents said that the two current leaders in innovation, the US and Japan, will be relegated to third place and fourth place, respectively, by 2020.
According to AstraZeneca, respondents in the developing nations of China and India have a strong sense of optimism about the ability of their nations to prosper through innovation. “People in both India and China strongly believe that their country will be the most innovative in 2020. This is most striking in India, where respondents have shown a remarkable self confidence for their innovative climate, both now and in the future,” said the survey. In India, 16% of respondents already believe that their country is the most innovative in the world, and 56% believe that this will be the case by 2020.
This optimism is a stark contrast to the views of respondents in developed Western economies; in the UK, for example, two-thirds of respondents believe that the country is not as innovative as it used to be, and only 5% believe that the UK will be the most innovative country by 2020. Respondents in Japan and the US also believe that their country is not as innovative as it once was.
Respondents also were asked about the importance of specific innovations over the past century. In general, respondents rated the Internet, computers, and electricity as the most important innovations, but people in Sweden, the UK, and the US also placed equal importance on innovation in vaccines and antibiotics.
According to David Brennan, chief executive officer of AstraZeneca, the survey offers a “fascinating perspective into what innovation means to people from different parts of the world.” He added, “I am convinced that it’s combining the best skills and talents from around the world that drives the greatest innovations—I see much stronger results coming from those countries and organizations that make strong connections across boundaries, and share the best ideas, breaking new ground along the way.”