Japan and Norway are the world's most innovative countries while India, Vietnam and China are among those at the very bottom of the list, says one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, which evaluates 31 countries based on the time it takes for new products to take off.
Indian-American Deepa Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of marketing at Lehigh University, and her co-researcher Gerard J. Tellis, director of the Centre for Global Innovation and professor at the University of Southern California, analysed 16 different product categories over 50 years, wherever applicable.
"The changing dynamics of the global marketplace are redefining the concept of innovativeness," said Chandrasekaran. "More products are being introduced at a quick rate, and the ability of a nation to embrace those changes is a true indicator of how innovative it has become."
New products take off faster in Japan (5.4 years) than any other nation, closely followed by Norway and its north European neighbours Sweden, Netherlands and Denmark. The US (6.2 years), Switzerland and Austria ranked high, as well.
India, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and China ranked lowest of the 31 countries surveyed.
The results also revealed that newly developed or developing countries, like South Korea and Venezuela, saw faster product takeoff times than more established Mediterranean nations with longer histories of industrialisation, according to a Lehigh University statement. These findings were published in the October issue of Marketing Science.
The authors found that takeoff is driven by culture and wealth, in addition to product class, product vintage and prior takeoffs. More important, "time-to-takeoff" is shortening and converging across developed countries.
Chandrasekaran and Tellis examined products split between two categories: those that were fun, used for information or entertainment, and those that were used only for work.
Fun products included such technologies as cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, broadband and internet use.
Work products - essentially household appliances - were microwave ovens, dishwashers, freezers, tumble dryers and washing machines.
The study indicated that takeoff was significantly shorter for fun products (seven years) than work products (12 years) across the board - a discrepancy that merits different product launch strategies.
The authors argued that fun products like gadgets could be introduced simultaneously across nations (a "sprinkler" strategy), while the introduction of appliances and other work-related technologies should be staggered ("waterfall") for maximum impact.
Chandrasekaran has a PhD from the University of Southern California, an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and a masters and bachelors degree in economics from Stella Maris College, Chennai.