A survey of 25,000 people in 12 countries by the Institute for Innovation and Information Productivity (IIIP) shows what they are referring to as "innovation confidence" among the world's population. The most acceptance of innovation in the 12 nations surveyed was observed in the United Arab Emirates, the least was in the Netherlands. The US and the UK fell somewhere in the middle of the pack. "The difference in innovation confidence across the countries in our sample is striking. In some continental European countries, over half of working-age people lack confidence in new innovations. We found a more positive acceptance of innovation in fast-growing economies," said the report's author Dr. Jonathan Levie of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.
The IIIP noticed a strong correlation between age and innovation confidence. Countries with younger populations tended to be more enthusiastic about embracing new and innovative technologies and ideas. "Young, well-educated students, business people and full-time employees are more likely to be innovation confident," wrote the organization in a press release.
"We find that innovation confidence starts dropping after people reach 40," Levie told the New York Times.
The NYT's Steve Lohr also noted that there is no correlation between innovation confidence and consumer confidence, suggesting that countries in which people are open to new ideas and technology are not necessarily on firm financial footing.
The Times' Bits blog quotes Daniel Rasmus of Microsoft, who is on the IIIP board, talking about how important the survey's Innovation Confidence Index will be for developed nations as they try to identify emerging markets and ward off competitive threats. That's probably a valid point, but it is too bad that the survey only included 12 countries. Distinctly absent from the list are any African or Pacific nations, and the only South American country included was Brazil. The IIIP index really focused on consumer innovation confidence in Western and Middle Eastern nations.
It is interesting that the IIIP came to the conclusion that Asian nations showed "enthusiasm" for innovation, when the only East Asian nations represented in the survey were China and India (granted, those two countries comprise of a good chunk of Asia's population).