- High-income countries, particularly OECD members, top the Social Innovation Index
- Data transparency is crucial in promoting social innovation, but few countries are open enough
- Legal frameworks for social enterprises are still rare
A new report released today (September 29th) by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) finds the top ten countries with the most capacity for social innovation are mainly rich Western nations: aside from the US (1st), Canada (3rd) and New Zealand (6th), all others are wealthy European nations. Saudi Arabia, Paraguay and the Philippines occupy the bottom three positions in the index.
The Social Innovation Index 2016, sponsored by Nippon Foundation, is a ranking of 45 countries in the environment that enables social innovation. The index is a first-of-its kind in content and scale and sheds light on some of the common characteristics of social innovation seen around the world. It finds that much work remains to be done to enable social innovation efforts to flourish.
Top ranking countries in the Index tend to have high per-capita income and human development indicators as well as stable democratic governance, and institutional and policy support for social innovation were given a relatively heavy weighting in the Index.
Many experts see policies around data transparency as one of the main building blocks for social innovation, particularly in the delivery of social services at the community level. The EIU awarded only nine countries the top score in the indicator that measures whether governments collect and publish relevant data and research the impact of and need for social innovation.
Legal frameworks that underpin social innovation are complex but one of the most important aspects is whether a country has a legal framework for social enterprises. To date only seven countries in the Index have such frameworks in place. Legal protection and regulation is necessary to bring social enterprises to the attention of policymakers and the public, clearing ambiguities around their status, which can sometimes have financial consequences.
Naka Kondo, editor of the report, said:
“Policymakers, non-government organisations, charities and entrepreneurs across the world are showing increasing interest in ‘social innovation’ as a means of addressing various problems from poverty and homelessness to environmental degradation. For social innovation to really gain traction there must be data proving its impact and this data must be freely available. This would help secure further support from governments, businesses, donors and investors. At the moment efforts to collect such data are lacking in most countries.”
Mathew Hanratty, corporate communications manager
Naka Kondo, Editor
Trisha Suresh, consultant, custom research
Notes to editors
About the Social Innovation Index 2016
The EIU build the Social Innovation Index 2016 to assess the capacity of 45 countries to enable social innovation. The Index includes seven quantitative data points and 10 qualitative scores by EIU analysts, grouped into four pillars: policy and institutional framework, financing, entrepreneurship and depth of civil society. A full explanation of the methodology is contained in Appendix 3 of the whitepaper.
The 45 countries covered in the Index are (listed by region):
Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay, United States, Uruguay
Asia-Pacific: Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand
Europe: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom
Middle East and Africa: Ghana, Israel, Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa
About the Economist Intelligence Unit
The Economist Intelligence Unit is the world leader in global business intelligence. It is the business-to-business arm of The Economist Group, which publishes The Economist newspaper. The Economist Intelligence Unit helps executives make better decisions by providing timely, reliable and impartial analysis on worldwide market trends and business strategies. More information can be found at www.eiu.com or www.twitter.com/theeiu.
About Nippon Foundation
The Nippon Foundation was established in 1962 as a non-profit philanthropic organization, active in Japan and around the world. Initially our efforts focused largely on the maritime and shipping fields, but since then the range of our activities has expanded to education, social welfare, public health, and other fields—carried out in more than 100 countries to date. Together with our more than 20 partner organizations in Japan and worldwide we are funding and assisting community-led efforts aimed at realizing a more peaceful and prosperous global society. More information can be found at http://www.nippon-foundation.o