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IT & InnovationSwitzerland named most innovative country in the world for 2017

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Adam Morgan
Posted byAdam Morgan

Adam is our Team Leader working for our Swiss tech market. Connect with him today:

Switzerland have been named the most innovative country once again for 2017, a position they’ve manged to hold since 2011. The country has been so successful in holding this title largely due to a knowledge based economy and their ability to turn innovative ideas into lucrative projects. An example of the countries innovative skill is through Swiss global bank UBS who have started using Virtual Reality technology to project investment portfolios to their clients.

UBS Virtual Reality from MDA on Vimeo.

What is the Global Innovations Index?

Every year a combination of Cornell University, INSTEAD Business School and the World Intellectual Property Organisation release the Global Innovation Index, a list of the most innovative countries across the globe. The list was started back in 2008 and surveys around 130 countries on a variety of metrics from patent filings to education spending.

Within the rankings, Sweden once again finished closely behind while the Netherlands jumped 6 places to third. Meanwhile, the USA and United Kingdom rounded out the top 5 at fourth and fifth respectively. Despite the top 10 seeing a majority of countries change ranking, Switzerland and Sweden were the only two able to maintain their position at first and second.

Throughout the metrics analysed, Switzerland ranked top for knowledge creation, PCT patent applications and high-tech manufacturing among many other important indicators. Much of this can largely be attributed to Switzerland’s favourable business environment which attracts foreign businesses through friendly legislation, financial stability and a highly skilled local workforce. Adding these factors to a central location in Western Europe means that many multinational companies have chosen Switzerland, and the city of Geneva, to house their headquarters.

How has Switzerland’s talent pool helped the country grow?

Switzerland has a local talent pool that is highly skilled and with some of Europe’s best research universities, there is always new opportunities to nurture fresh talent. In 2016, the prestigious École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) was voted the fourth most innovative university in Europe with four more of the country’s universities finishing in the top 50. The research undertaken by the Swiss universities is important to the country’s innovation and ranks first for collaboration in research between industries and the universities.

It’s this nurtured talent that has helped the business sector thrive as companies like Nestlé and Novartis apply for hundreds of patents. With such a strength in the industry, Switzerland is ranked highest in the world for patents on a per-capita basis, with over 40,000 registered since 2014.

Switzerland also ranked third for the total percentage of knowledgeable workers (75%). This is largely helped by the skilled, local talent and those entering the country to pursue exciting careers. This diverse and talented workforce is essential to Switzerland as it continues to attract multi-national businesses.


Switzerland has a rich history of entrepreneurship and this reputation continues today as Zurich remains a hotspot for start-up companies ranging from those who are utilising drone technology in agricultural work, to smartphones designed to be more secure than their mainstream counterparts. With a perfect blend of business conditions and a talented workforce, made from domestic and foreign experts, Switzerland delivers the best environment for start-ups and multinational businesses to grow.

It’s clear why the Swiss have been the most innovative country for the past 7 years and as the country continues to develop, it looks like they could hold onto this title for many more years.

If working in a country that is constantly innovating and evolving interests you, then we can help get you there. Get in touch with Adam Morgan on 00 41 4151 10293 to discuss progressing your career to Switzerland.

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