European Commission report places French innovation as ‘average’


innovation-en-franceThe European Commission’s Eurostat published figures this week on what percentage of companies in the various EU27 countries are, and the results were quite telling of the future of Europe. With an average of 53% of enterprises reporting innovative activity, Germany (79.3%), Luxembourg(68%) and Belgium(61%) scored highest, while France stumbled in at the average, 53%.

Does this mean France isn’t innovative?

The report looked a companies with at least 10 employees operating in a variety of sectors, which included computer programming an telco, but also included waste management and wholesale trade, so it’s hard to say how this relates to specific startup ecosystems. What’s more telling is whether innovation is in the Business culture in various countries. Romania, for example, only reported 30% of companies as doing ‘innovative’ activity, while the tax haven Luxembourg, the ‘efficient’ Germans and center of the EU (and all it’s R&D grants) Belgium scored quite highly. All of Scandenavia scored above France, as did Estonia (though the rest of Southern Europe didn’t), and it begs the question: how much are innovation and business tied together in France?

International Cooperation – a strong suit in France?

The report also details how much companies cooperate with various regions, like the rest of the EU27 or the United States. France more than doubled the 3% EU average, scoring well above Germany’s 2%, though again Finland & Sweden scored high in the 10-12% range. France also scored above the EU27 average (and above Germany) for relations with China and the rest of the EU27 countries.

This isn’t the first indicator that French companies lack innovation culture – while French R&D centers like CNRS and companies like EADS rate among the Top 100 Global Innovators, there is still too strong of a gab between the engineering academia and the business world.