MANY attempts to rank countries by their susceptibility to, and achievements in, innovation fall flat. Places like Switzerland come out on top when things like literacy are lauded; Japan dominates when patents are prized. A new innovation index by Cornell, the French business school INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) itself innovates in how it measures innovation. Instead of objectively counting the inputs and outputs, it relies on nuance. For example, rather than ranking overall education, it looks at the top three universities, since elite institutions may be more important than the average. Instead of counting each patent, it tracks only those filed in at least three countries, which suggests it is a more valuable technology. And rather than look at scientific journal articles en masse, the index includes how often they are actually cited. Among the interesting findings are how Japan and South Korea differ in cited articles. And mon Dieu!, France falls below Canada in university ranking. China makes a strong showing—and leads Russia. Last year we questioned WIPO's overall ranking, based on a less refined methodology. This year's metric does better at tracking the ins and outs of new ideas. See above