European Innovation: EIS 2020

European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS 2020)

The European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) is a well-established tool for measuring innovation results, developed by the European Commission [1]. It provides a comparative analysis of innovation in EU countries, and also compares with other European and global countries. Evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the systems that contribute to innovation in the different states.

The latest edition with the 2019 data was published by the European Commission on June 23, 2020.

We have commented and summarized these reports on this website, since the 2014 edition. See:

In the midst of a crisis due to the consequences of Covid-19

In current circumstances, as of June 2020, with full effect on all economies due to the Covid-19 health crisis and its consequences, it may seem that the 2019 data is no longer the most relevant.

Innovation, at the moment, is urgent in all companies and organizations, to the point that in many cases, it is a matter of subsistence. For this reason, we have spoken of “Innovation of urgency and in a previous post of “The experience of facing a crisis“.

However, even in these circumstances the EIS 2020 will serve us at least, to have the photography of “before of…” and the evolution that has led us to this point. A starting reference to see what actions are taken from now on and their results in the near future.

Innovation results in 2019 globally.

The global report presents little news, (Graph 1), highlights that the EU consolidates in its position ahead of the United States, but is losing ground against Australia, Japan and South Korea.

The innovation index has increased in the EU as a whole and in most Member States, on average, the increase is almost nine percentage points since 2012. (8.9%)

It is the first time that the United Kingdom is not included as an EU country, so there is a gap between strongly innovative countries. (UK was in 7th position).

Results by EU countries

There are also no major changes in positions by EU countries.

Figure 2: Member States are classified into four groups based on the mean values ​​of their performance indicators:

  • Leaders in Innovation.
  • Strongly innovative.
  • Moderately innovative.
  • Modest innovators

The positions among innovation leaders are maintained, Sweden remains the first, followed by Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, and this year, by Luxembourg, which joins this group of leaders for the first time.

Portugal joins for the first time in the group of “strongly innovative” countries, overtaking Spain, which continues in the group of “moderately innovative” although it has advanced two positions from 16 to 14. (Due to the drop in Slovenia and the absence of the UK)

Bulgaria and Romania continue as “modest innovators”, with results well below the EU average. See Chart 3:

Changes since 2012

Regarding the EU as a whole, the increase since 2012 has been stronger in the”innovation-friendly environment”, especially fiber optic penetration, companies “investments in innovation”, (in particular expenses not related to R&D, and ICT training by companies), and human resources (in particular, population with completed tertiary education). The increase in venture capital is also notable. In contrast, public spending on R&D in relation to GDP remains below its level in 2012.

By EU countries, Graph 5 shows the progress in the index of the different countries. On the vertical axis the index of each country in 2019 compared to the EU average in 2012. On the horizontal axis the progress of each country in the innovation index from 2012 to 2019, with values ​​of 2012.

Highlights the progress of Finland and the advanced position of Portugal with respect to Spain

The following graph show the evolution of the “strong innovative” countries:

And same for “moderately innovative” countries. Few changes in innovation leaders.

Comparison of the EU with other European countries.

The report analyses the results of 10 regional neighbouring European countries that use the same methodology used for the EU.

Switzerland is the overall leader in innovation in Europe, outperforming all EU Member States. Switzerland’s performance relative to the EU in 2012 has improved sharply by 22.6% points.

Iceland, Israel, Norway, and the United Kingdom are strongly innovative countries.

The performance of Norway and the United Kingdom in relation to the 2012 EU has increased considerably by 26.6% and 17.3% respectively.

With these countries included, the map of Europe that we have seen in figure 2 is complemented by the other 10 countries and is shown in figure 12:

Concentration by geography and size of the states

We can observe how the leading countries in innovation and some others in more advanced positions, are grouped into geographical areas, mainly Scandinavia and north-western Europe.

Furthermore, they are generally small countries. The 6 leaders are: Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. And so all the “strongly innovative” up to 17 of the list, with the exceptions of the United Kingdom, (position number 8), Germany, (number 10) and France, (number 15).

Another trend that we already saw last year in the regional analysis is the grouping into regional ‘Clusters’.

The case of Spain VS. Portugal.

As we have seen, Portugal entered into the “strongly innovative” countries, with growth in the index in the last year of 21.5%, while Spain remains in the “Moderates” group below the EU average. I think this fact deserves an analysis and some comments, especially seeing the evolution of both countries in the last 6 years and the starting point of Portugal from 18th place in 2014, below Spain, to the 12th currently.

Despite this, Spain has also advanced positions, from 19 to 14, and has advanced countries such as Italy, the Czech Republic, Malta, and Slovenia. Its index relative to the European average has gone from 77.9 to 85.1% this year. And its relative index since 2012 from 78.1 to 92.6. It has regained lost ground since 2013.

In the following graph we see the main differences between both States, in the 27 EIS indicators, grouped into the 10 ‘dimensions’:

Spain shows better results in HR and R&D systems. Portugal is ahead in “Environment innovation friendly”, “Business investments” and the difference is especially important in “Innovative in SMEs”. In other groups the differences are not substantial, being in the outputs, “employment” and “sales” favorable to the Spanish index.

Portugal stands out particularly in SMEs that innovate internally, broadband penetration, innovative SMEs in products or processes, and foreign doctoral students.

In the case of Spain, the topics that were pointed out in previous years continue. Financial support for innovation is still insufficient, “companies investments”, both in R&D and in activities of non-R&D innovators, are well below average and especially the delay in innovative SMEs, both in products / processes, as well as marketing and organization, and especially in own innovation projects, making a considerable difference. Last year we already summarized the recommendations published by EC and that are still fully in force:

  • Low levels of investment, both in R&D and in innovative non-R&D activities. Spending on research and development in the business sector in Spain is less than half the EU average.
  • Lack of innovation in SMEs, advanced technological systems and digitization, in addition to the aspects already mentioned.
  • Lack of coordination in public-private collaboration
  • Lack of patents and their application. Activities that generate greater added value.
  • Presence in international markets.
  • Although it is improving, a very high early school leaving rate in Spain, with significant regional disparities. Efforts to reform the educational system have stalled. As well as the dual professional education system, which could play a key role in providing the skills necessary to drive innovation
  • A greater focus on public-private partnerships, cooperation between the academic sector and the transfer of technology and companies, particularly in favor of small and medium-sized companies.
  • The tertiary education rate in Spain is above the EU average, but tertiary graduates face difficulties in finding suitable jobs. There is a lack of a business model that generates highly qualified employment, which makes graduates migrate to other countries.
  • Lack of more investment in CSR.

What Portugal has been done in recent yeasr and how, to produce this advance?

Based on the above data and some information that shown below, we can draw some conclusions and perhaps learn from it.

Success of the Portuguese education. What should Spain learn. El Confidencial, 26/06/2019

 “Two decades ago, our neighbours faced poor performance in PISA and high school dropout. Today, the situation is completely different. What did you do?

School dropout, from 30.9% in 2009 to 11.8% in 2018. Tertiary education completed from 21.3 to 33.5 in the same period.

Public spending on education (% of GDP): 4.9 (%) in 2015 and 5.0% in 2017.

The emphasis on citizens and democratic participation is a substantial difference between the attitude of Spain and that of Portugal.”

Portugal wants to become the european Silicon Valley. Innovadores, 31 DIC. 2019

“This is what a FES Agency report proclaims and is intended by Portuguese government initiatives such as Visa StartUp or Startup Voucher.

Its technological ecosystem grows at an annual average of 30% – according to a study of the Beta-i incubator – and its capital, and almost 90% of its municipalities support some entrepreneurial program, according to a report by Everis.

Government and different administrations support, together with an extensive mobility system, free health coverage, high condensation and a good level of English are some of the elements that make the neighbouring country stand out as an entrepreneurial destination. But Santos Silva acknowledges that there are still things to complain about. Among them, unlike in Spain, is not the paperwork to create a company.”

“Bureaucracy is not an obstacle. Creating a company is very easy, you can do it in an hour”

“Portuguese startups are born thinking globally “because the local market is too small to make a difference”.”

Modern innovation challenges: the case of Portugal. Journal of technology management & innovation. Jul. 2018

“These results reveal that innovation in Portuguese companies is more” competition-driven “(as followers) than” customer-driven “(as pioneers). However, there is an attempt to consolidate a customer-driven innovation strategy.

The government strategic support program “Start-up Portugal” has led to the growth of new companies that represent 6.5% of companies and, on average, 74% of them actually start their activities. For the fifth year the survival rate is 40%. The innovation management matrix shows us that successful innovative companies have reduced activities that were not leading to the necessary results, and with the right partners, they had more new ideas invested, executed, and disseminated.”

Monitoring progress in national initiatives on digitising industry. July 2019

“”Strengths of the digitization process in Portugal:

  • A national strategy focused from bottom up
  • A wide range of ‘Clusters’ covering a wide variety of sectors. (from Agriculture to cultural and creative sectors, industries, textiles and maritime activities)
  • Broadband available with ultrafast fiber optic networks in 95% of homes.
  • Advanced digitization of public services.
  • Strong expansion of projects under the Startup Portugal + program
  • Measures aimed at promoting the participation of SMEs in the digital economy
  • Entry of Portuguese companies in broader supply chains
  • Continuous cooperation between public and private actors “

AI Portugal 2030

“An innovation and growth strategy to promote artificial intelligence in Portugal in the European context. Goals:

  • Significant growth in added economic value.
  • Scientific excellence: improve the position of the Portuguese Academy (universities, polytechnic schools and research institutions) in AI research measured in terms of international impact, leadership and collaborations.
  • Human development: dramatically increase the skills of the workforce, while promoting inclusion and awareness at all levels of education.
  • A significant increase in the number and volume of artificial intelligence in companies.
  • A considerable R&D effort and greater collaboration between universities, companies and the public sector.
  • Improvement of the general quality of services extended to the whole of society, including SMEs and the public sector.
  • Increase the total number of qualified human resources in ICT in general and in AI in particular at different levels of education, including short cycles for initial training and adult training, as well as for graduates.
  • Increase the participation of women in technological areas, that is, in ICT in general and in AI in particular.
  • Promote the attractiveness of Portugal for foreign talent, including students, researchers, and people with experience, removing border obstacles.
  • Promote the experimentation of new AI ideas and concepts in Portugal, including forms of cooperation between national and international higher education institutions and companies or the public administration.”

Portugal steps on the accelerator of technological investment. March 2019

“Lisbon snatches again from Spain two bets from large multinationals: the innovation centres of Mercedes Benz and BMW.

Since the Web Summit was established in Lisbon, the technological battle has blown with the wind in Portugal, which has already robbed Spain of numerous businesses with its new and attractive profile for large international companies, including more advantageous taxation. Now it is the high-end automotive sector that joins this trend.”

Portugal innovative

“Unique ideas and innovative products from Portugal

Portugal registers two new patents every day.

Learn about some of the Portuguese innovations that have already achieved success in international markets.”

Portugal is committed to innovation, creative industries and coworking. Smart cities. Feb 2018

“According to Rohan Silva, the co-founder of the British business accelerator Second Home, Lisbon is ahead of Paris and Berlin in the selection of many companies that are currently in London, being seen as a creative capital of the European continent.

FabLab is a digital manufacturing laboratory that aims to democratize access to personal and collaborative inventions through digital technologies. The old renovated Forno Do Tijolo market, designed by the Lisbon City Council, is the FabLab Lisboa. It belongs to the network of international FabLabs.

The Lisbon startup city platform is part of the Lisbon strategy to transform the city into an international startup city.”

Portugal: DNA and a European example of social innovation. Smart cities. Jun. 2017

“Let us know the history of” Portugal Social Innovation “. Its objective is to support the Initiatives of Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (IIES)

At the end of 2014, the initiative called Portugal Inovação Social was created, which makes Portugal the pioneer country in this area, within the European Union.

Portugal channelled approximately 150 million euros from the European structural funds, thus promoting social innovation in the 2014-2020 programming and agenda.”


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