Millions of gigabits have been devoted to questions like these. Nowadays, it is widely accepted that successful economies are built with ideas as much as with capital and labour, which is why governments need to encourage higher education, research and development (R&D) and small business creation.
Not all countries are starting from the same point and part of the trouble for each is knowing where to begin.
A new series of OECD reports should help, and the first five are finished or soon to be published, starting with Switzerland. With a strong services sector and an orientation towards high quality, it is the home of strong R&D institutions, both in business and public research. However, the OECD nonetheless recommends that Switzerland negotiate and relax market barriers with the EU, make it easier for entrepreneurs to open small businesses, and use immigration policy to improve the supply of workers in science and technology.
For more details, see: www.oecd.org/sti/innovation
©OECD Observer No 261, May 2007