Japan is the world’s most innovative country, according to a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, a sister company. It gets the top score in an index, ranging from 1 to 10, which is based on patents per person. The report casts light on the factors behind innovation. Based on a survey of 485 senior executives around the world, it indicates that the top determinants are the technical skills of a country’s workforce and the quality of its telecoms and information-technology infrastructure. It also suggests that, despite India’s success in IT services, China has better conditions for innovation. The return on innovation is greater in middle-income countries like Mexico than among richer nations.

* May 17th 2007
From The Economist print edition