"As countries seek to innovate to avoid middle-income traps, all governments especially those with limited resources need to be sure that their investments boost both efficiency and productivity, benefiting their economies and people, and move to a knowledge-based economy," Bindu N. Lohani, Vice President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development at Asian Development Bank was quoted in a statement.
The United States and Finland were included for comparative purposes and ranked second and 4th respectively out of the diverse group of 24 countries that span some of the richest and poorest nations in the world.
The index ranks Japan and the Republic of Korea as countries most efficient in the Asia and Pacific region at turning creative inputs into tangible innovation.
Singapore was 10 while China ranked as 11th in the index.
India ranked as 14th and Vietnam follows in 16th.
Myanmar, Pakistan, and Cambodia, by contrast, were ranked as the least efficient innovators at 22nd, 23rd and 24th, respectively.
The index uses 36 input indicators to measure the capacity and incentives for innovation, including how many global top 500 universities a country has, the urbanization rate, spending on research and development, protection of intellectual property rights, and corruption and bureaucracy.
The eight output indicators to measure innovation include the number of patents filed, export sophistication, value added to agriculture, and the number of books and films produced.
On innovation inputs alone, Singapore topped the rankings with strong political institutions, protection of intellectual property, and contract enforcement.
Among Asian countries, Hong Kong, China topped the list in terms of innovation outputs due to a high level of export sophistication and its prolific film production industry.
"Creative productivity is an important attribute for knowledge-based economic development and the new index gives policymakers a unique tool to assess how to best foster innovation and creativity," ADB says in the statement.
"While measures will differ by country, policies that make it easier to set up businesses and create flexible labor markets would benefit everyone, as would greater investment in education, skills, information and communications technologies, and internet access,"
"The Creative Productivity Index differs from existing innovation-related indices by focusing on how efficiently countries turn their creative inputs into innovation outputs rather than just the absolute level of creative inputs,"
"This allows countries to seek the most effective and affordable innovation investments. It also captures elements of creativity that are more relevant in less developed countries, such as agricultural innovation."
The complete rankings: Japan, Finland, South Korea, United States, Taiwan, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Australia, Laos, Singapore, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Fiji, Myanmar, Pakistan, Cambodia.