Peru was ranked 76 in the Global Innovation Index 2020, a joint study between the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Cornell University.
To achieve the goal of advancing in that ranking, Peru needs to make a leap in several categories over the next few years and now there is a lot it can learn from the formulas used by other more innovative countries.
How can financial support for research and development be expanded in Peru? How can Peruvian companies, entrepreneurs and universities participate in a common agenda? In which economic sectors can you set your sights to expand innovation?
All these questions seem complex, but some of the answers are part of the formulas that other nations have already used to improve their productivity and establish themselves as great innovators in the world and in the region.
The 7 central variables
The first step for Peru to become a more innovative country is to analyze and understand the seven pillars evaluated in the Global Innovation Index. These key variables are:
- Human capital and research
- Market development
- Business development
- Production of knowledge and technology
- Creative production
Peru’s weakest performances in these pillars are in relation to the production of knowledge and technology and creative production. There, the country ranked 112 and 87, respectively, in relation to the 131 economies analyzed in the study.
The good news is that to improve Peruvian productivity, more actors can participate, not just the State. To achieve the improvement of innovation in these specific points, the participation that both national and international private companies and universities can offer is important.
More private investment
Chile led the ranking as the most innovative country in Latin America in this report, thanks to the extensive state investment in research and development in recent years.
Instead, Costa Rica is a small Central American country that managed to transform itself into an innovative economy based on a different scheme. Public policies and adjustments that began in the 1970s allowed it to become the third most innovative country in Latin America by 2020, even above a giant like Brazil.
Costa Rica’s formula for success began with improving its program to attract foreign direct investment. This allowed companies like Intel, for example, to install a microchip factory in Costa Rica, which was in operation until 2014.
The key lesson Costa Rica offers is that expanding research and development financing is not only a matter for the national public budget.
Foreign companies and large private companies are also important when it comes to boost a wave of innovation.
Training of specialized professionals
Costa Rica has among its achievements the launch of the first Central American satellite, the design and assembly of the first humanoid robot in Latin America, and the generation of electricity from coffee grounds.
The research centers are the points where a good part of these Costa Rican inventions were conceived, although the essential element is that this Central American country made a sustained educational effort to form a pool of highly qualified personnel, which would allow it to start the investigations that ended in these technological advances.
In the case of Peru, the network of Peruvian universities is also called to become the central node of a bet so that the country can improve its index in terms of knowledge production.
The combination of research by university professors and professional practices in laboratories can begin to produce unique technology that boosts internal competencies in different economic sectors and thereby boosts a chain of innovation.
The search for productivity
A distinctive element in all innovative countries such as Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, and South Korea is the concern to improve productivity in the economic sectors that are central to their development.
If a closer case such as Chile is reviewed, its effort can be seen because the mining activity in Antofagasta focuses on being an industry with a safer, more efficient functionality and with a lower carbon footprint.
From Peru it is also necessary to support innovation focused on two economic sectors: agriculture and mining. Any technology or process that can translate into greater profitability and production is positive, but if it also focuses on these economic areas, it can also represent an engine for the country.
Making Peru more innovative is a task that falls to many more actors than just the State. The time to start making synergies and focusing on homework appears to be favorable now as the COVID-19 pandemic proposes innumerable challenges.
 Global Innovation Index 2020 https://www.wipo.int/edocs/pubdocs/es/wipo_pub_gii_2020_keyfindings.pdf
 Peru’s rankings according to the variables https://www.comexperu.org.pe/articulo/el-peru-retrocede-7-posiciones-en-el-indice-mundial-de-innovacion-2020
 Innovation in Costa Rica https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-48193736
 Chilean innovation in mining https://expandemineria.cl/blog/mineria-e-innovacion-asociativa-para-chile/