The Economist Intelligence Unit has released its latest Technological Readiness Ranking for 2018-22 – and Australia, Singapore and Sweden at the top of it.
The EIU’s ranking – which covers 82 countries (a.k.a. ‘business environments’) – focuses on how future-oriented each country is by assessing eight indicators across three categories: (1) access to the internet, which looks at internet usage and mobile phone subscriptions, (2) digital economy infrastructure. looking at e-commerce, e-government and cyber-security, and (3) openness to innovation, exploring international patents, R&D spending, and the research infrastructure.
Australia, Singapore and Sweden finished in a three-way tie for first place with a ranking score of 9.71875.
The US, Finland, France, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands were tied for fourth place, each with a score of 9.4375. Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan were among the five countries achieving a high enough score to make the top ten.
The previous version of the Technological Readiness Ranking – which covered the period from 2013 to 2017 – saw Finland take the top slot, with Sweden second and Australia third.
According to Emily Mansfield, country forecast director at The Economist Intelligence Unit, the key finding of the report is that government investment will drive a broad-based improvement in countries’ tech-readiness in the next five years, while spending on e-government, cyber security and a robust e-commerce environment will increasingly be seen as a policy priority.
“Technological change is inescapable, and how well prepared governments, businesses and individuals are for disruption is increasingly important,” she said. “The US will climb sharply in our ranking in the coming years as internet access improves, and will remain the world leader for innovation clusters and new patents. Meanwhile the UK’s position will decline, reflecting comparatively low R&D spending – a key contributor to productivity growth – and inadequate investment in cyber security.”
Other findings from the report:
- The breakdown of scores shows that the Netherlands has the best e-commerce offering, the UK has exemplary e-government services and Taiwan is the world leader for cyber-security
- China has seen strong growth in patent applications in recent years, but on our measure of patent grants, as a proxy for innovation, the US is still the clear frontrunner.
The full report is available for download here.