Digital innovation helps to create new business and markets models, encourages the introduction of services and applications in different sectors and areas, and promotes the transformation of the economy and society.
This section examines this aspect from the perspective of public and private dynamism in the area, as well as from the vantage point of the context itself, paying particular attention to the funding of innovative initiatives and the attitude towards them.
The Global Innovation Index of INSEAD examines innovation on the basis of 80 indicators, from a broader perspective, including the political environment, education, infrastructures and business development. Spain occupies a modest 23rd place within the 39 economies analysed, with 48.70 points, lagging behind all the digital leaders in Europe (with an average of 56.63) and all main economies, except Italy (46.30).
The total expenditure on R&D compared to GDP is one of Spain’s best known weaknesses, clearly falling behind in 27th place out of the 39 countries in the sample (1.22% of GDP), at a considerable distance from the expenditure levels shown by the more innovative countries (above 4% per year) and the targets set for Spain in 2020. The situation is particularly worrisome in terms of its evolution in Spain given that, after almost a decade of continuous growth since the start of the century, the trend since 2009/2010 is negative. The OECD average is of 1.62%, and Israel (4.27%) and South Korea (4.23%) are the leaders.
This trend continues when we examine the private expenditure on R&D in the ITC sector compared to GDP (0.08%, 27th out of 31), although the situation shows a slight improvement when analysing this percentage as a share of overall private investment in R&D (17.1%). The OECD average is much higher.
Spain occupies a modest position (29 out of 39) among the analysed economies regarding registered patents per every 1000 inhabitants, with just 0.06. This places us behind the main European economies (with an average of 0.40) and digital leaders (0.26), except for Ireland (0.06). At the head of this ranking at great advantage are South Korea on a global level, with 4.13, and Germany (0.83) at a European level.
Spain occupies 9th position in a ranking of 39 countries, with 90,082 scientific documents published, clearly exceeding the OECD average. Nonetheless this Scimago indicator places us behind the ‘EU Big 4’ and the United States, undisputed world leader with 626,403 scientific publications in one year (2017).
This OECD indicator measures the location of the subsidiaries of the main investors in R&D. Our country occupies 9th place out of a total of 30 countries, with 5,753 subsidiaries, once again above the OECD average and also Italy (5,180), although behind Germany (15,146) and the UK (22,436).
This is an International Monetary Fund index on a scale 1-7 that measures the purchase of advanced technology by governments. Once again, Spain occupies a very modest position (26 out of 39, with 3.16 points) in terms of innovative public procurement, only ahead of Italy (2.83) in terms of the groups of countries of interest in this comparative study, but under the EOCD average (3.57).
Spain continues to advance at a steady pace in financing venture capital. The latest figures available indicate that in 2017 the amount of 1,000 million euros has been attained for the first time, and there are already two start-ups in exceeding 1,000 million (Cabify and LetGo).
Our country is already among the 5 main countries in Europe in the area. And the only one with two cities included among the seven main hubs.
Spain ranks 7th out of a total of 31 countries in terms of venture capital investment. In 2017, a total of 941 million euros was invested in venture capital in our country, well above the OECD average and that of Italy (125), although some distance behind France (2,500), Germany (2,800) and, above all, the United Kingdom (7,500).
In this World Economic Forum indicator, Spain achieves 29th position in a list of 39 countries, with a score of 2.70 in a score from 1 to 7, where 7 indicates the highest availability. At the head are the US and Israel, with a score of 4.50 each.
Spain occupies an intermediate position (17th out of 32, with a 2.13% of GDP invested in ICT assets), ahead of Italy (1.99%) and Germany (1.82%), but far from the relative investment figures of Sweden (3.42%), Netherlands (3.35%) and France (3.13%). We also fall below the OECD average (2.30%).
This indicator measures the ratio between newly created companies and those already in existence.
Spain’s position here is an intermediate one (14th out of 28), with a ratio of 9.95%, well above the OECD average (9.84%) and also above that of the EU digital leaders (8.48%), albeit very distant from the country leading this ranking: Lithuania (18.82%).
This measures the percentage of companies that survive over five years since creation. In this Eurostat indicator, Spain ranks 21st out of 27, with 55.11% of surviving companies, ahead of Italy (53.91), and also ahead of countries like Germany (49.16). This ranking is headed by Ireland with 87.09 points.
The TEA indicator from GEM (Total Early-Stage Entrepreneurial Activity) measures the percentage of the population between the ages of 16 and 65 who have started an enterprise. This indicator appears to penalise the large economies, with Spain lagging at the bottom of the sample (31st out of 39, with 6.19%) along with the rest of large European economies (average of 5.47%, except for the UK, with 8.40%), Korea (12.98%) and Chile, leading this ranking with 23.80%.