Europe has a reputation as being unfriendly to innovators – but is this fact or perception?
International business school INSEAD set out to uncover the truth. First, as part of INSEAD’s European Competitive Initiative, it surveyed 1300 business leaders around the world to find out what they felt about the current state of innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe. Staggeringly, only 2% of the respondents disagreed with the statement “Europe’s innovation is hampered by a lack of culture of innovation and entrepreneurship”.
However, this was not because of a lack of quality people. Most of those surveyed lay the blame firmly with European governments and institutions. This negative view was held particularly strongly by non-Europeans. When asked how they felt about the future of Europe, high percentages expressed concern or worry:
- 83% of Latin American respondents
- 74% of BRIC country respondents
- 65% Asian country respondents
- 60% of African respondents
That survey deals with perceptions of innovation in Europe. But what does the data say? In fact surveys and data from INSEAD and other institutions including the World Economic Forum paint a different picture.
The Global Innovation Index places six European countries in the top ten (in descending order Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands and the UK). In fact, when the 2011 scores are aggregated across regions, Europe scores equally with North America.
Europe scores well in The World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report 2013 – particularly the Nordic countries and the UK.
Europe certainly has some work to do to change the perception of it as being unfriendly to innovators and entrepreneurs.
INSEAD’s European Competitiveness Initiative hopes to help business leaders in Europe by disseminating research, best practice and lessons learned.