In Innovate Slovakia, we are providing up-to-date data and information about the regional innovation ecosystem. Hence, in this blog we focused on analysing the data from the prominent European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) 2022. This edition of an annual report offers an opportunity to reflect on innovation performance of individual EU countries since its inception in 2015. We will use this blog to bring you a closer look at the Slovak innovation ecosystem performance according to EIS. You can read the full EIS country report for Slovakia HERE (link).
Why European Innovation Scoreboard?
European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) is an annually published comparative analysis of innovation performance in European Union (EU) countries and its regional neighbours. The EIS is a comprehensive and reliable tool for benchmarking innovation performance and provides valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of innovation ecosystems based on a comprehensive mix of quantitative indicators. The EIS divides countries into four performance groups: Innovation Leaders, Strong Innovators, Moderate Innovators, and Emerging Innovators.
Key takeaways from this report
The gap between the best and emerging innovators, including Slovakia, is deepening.
Although, the general trend in the last edition of the EIS (2022) suggests that almost every EU Member State has increased its innovation performance since 2015, the growth rate significantly varies across countries as well as performance groups. The innovation performance of the EU has increased by 9.9%-points on average, but the countries with the biggest need for improvement – Emerging Innovators (including Slovakia) – have grown at the slowest pace. EIS score of Slovakia has increased by 4.6%-points on average between 2015-2022. Therefore, the gap between countries like Slovakia and the “top innovators” is increasing despite many efforts on international and national level to mitigate this trend.
Slovakia and its V4 peers (except Czechia) share same performance group but develop at different paces.
Whereas Czechia is the only V4 country falling into the category of moderate innovators, Slovakia, together with our close neighbours, Hungary, and Poland, are classified as Emerging Innovators. Despite the obvious similarity in the group classification among the three countries, their performance scores and the rates at which they are changing vary among each other. While Poland holds the position of a country with the lowest EIS score (60.5), Slovakia shows the smallest score increase over time (+4.6 points between 2015 and 2022). The EIS scores thus suggest that our V4 neighbours are developing at faster pace than Slovakia even though our overall performance might exceed some of them.
Future outlook – Slovakia has an innovation-friendly environment and innovation talent.
Regardless of the V4 comparison, Slovakia shows great potential to improve its innovation score. The EIS indicator in which Slovakia performs the best is Sales impacts. Specifically, Slovakia performs well above the EU average in export of medium and high-tech products and in the sales of innovative products. Moreover, EIS suggests that Slovakia performs well in indicators such as digitalisation, digital infrastructure and the use of information technologies. Also, the data suggests that the general Slovak population is “tech-savvy” with above average digital skills. People are also keen to work on innovations. The employment in innovative enterprises is above the EU average and has increased significantly from 2015 (+ 40,5 percentage points).
The combination of good performance in the above-mentioned indicators creates a good opportunity for Slovakia to improve the innovation performance in future years. We could focus our innovation ecosystem efforts on making Slovakia a good destination for innovative enterprises to work with local ICT and innovation talent, to test their digital innovations here and use the established channels and formulas to scale them abroad. Successful recent exits and acquisitions of Slovak-based startups such as Sli.Do, Bloomreach or Minit (see our Success stories section) are paving the way for the future Slovak innovators with global ambitions and are supporting this possible direction for innovation in Slovakia.