In 2015 the growth in innovation was 13.7%. Global innovation activity increased across 11 of the 12 sectors throughout 2015, with the largest leaders being Medical Devices, Home Appliances and Aerospace & Defense.


  • Aerospace & Defense – Increases in sub-sectors: Space Vehicles & Satellite Technologies (23%), Production Techniques (19%) and Propulsion Plants (15%). The US leads the academic research in aerospace.
  • Automotive – Increases in sub-sectors: Seats, Seatbelts & Airbags (34%), Suspension Systems (17%) and Alternative Powered Vehicles (15%). Asia dominates the field with 60% of the Top 10 headquartered there.  In alternative-powered vehicle innovation, Japan’s Toyota leads with 10,000 unique inventions.
  • Biotechnology – China, France, Germany, South Korea and the US lead the world in biotech innovation. The US dominates biotech scientific-and-scholarly research output with 80 percent of the top 10.
  • Cosmetics & Wellbeing – Brazil leads in cosmetics related scientific research. The world’s most active Cosmetics & Well Being innovator is South Korea’s LG Household & Healthcare, part of the LG family.
  • Food, Beverage and Tobacco – The sector remained predominantly flat over the last year, growing by just 1 percent or about 300 inventions. The largest growth was in Brewing (18%) followed by Bakery (6%).China Tobacco Hubei Industries Corp. is the most prolific innovator with 1,122 unique inventions.
  • Home Appliances – the most active sub-sector was Kitchens, however the largest increase occurred in Human Hygiene, which was up 29% over the prior period. Asia is the undisputed leader in Home Appliance innovation.
  • Information Technology –The companies leading the top 10 in the global IT pack are from Asia: China, Japan and South Korea and US: IBM and Google. Computing is the most active sub-sector (82%).
  • Medical Devices –Medical Aids & Oral Administration saw the largest increase: 45%. Japan is home to 40% of the world’s top 10 Medical Device companies.
  • Oil and Gas – China leads the world’s innovation activity taking the top two spots globally.
  • Pharmaceuticals – 4% year-on-year growth, with the most significant increase in in-organics. China is the world’s leading region for Pharmaceutical innovation with 50% of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies.
  • Semiconductors – Asia is the frontrunner in Semiconductor innovation activity.
  • Telecoms – Telecoms was up 3% year-on-year, despite 3/4 of its sub-sectors declining slightly from the last period. The sub-sector Telemetry & Telecontrol covering measuring, transmitting and receiving apparatus, experienced a 38% increase. Asian companies lead the top 10 list in Telecommunications innovation with 80% representation.