Robson Braga de Andrade, President, Brazilian National Confederation of Industry, on the value of measuring innovation

September 22, 2023

Since its inception in 2007, the Global Innovation Index (GII) has evolved into a valuable benchmarking tool that facilitates public-private dialogue and that helps policymakers, business leaders, and other stakeholders to evaluate their innovation progress on an annual basis.

Each year, the GII is supported by Corporate Network Partners, which are corporations or trade associations that believe in the role of innovation in increasing the competitiveness of nations, enabling economic growth, driving societal changes, and building the foundation of an economy’s future. In this interview, Mr. Robson Braga de Andrade, President of the Brazilian National Confederation of Industry (CNI) shares his thoughts on the value of these partnerships, and how GII metrics support CNI’s informed decision-making and long term strategies.


What is the significance of the Corporate Network partnership for CNI?

The Brazilian National Confederation of Industry (CNI) and the Entrepreneurial Mobilization for Innovation (MEI) have been proud partners with the Global Innovation Index (GII) for years now. We firmly believe in the transformative power of innovation as a catalyst for economic prosperity. Over the past decade, fostering innovation has been a central pillar of our strategic agenda. 

We have worked diligently to build capabilities that have repositioned Brazil in terms of innovative potential. These capabilities are now being utilized, already yielding results for various industries and the broader economy, despite the slowness of our steps. In this regard, CNI and MEI agendas are closely aligned and interconnected with the GII purposes. 

In 2023, for the first time, we are hosting a regional launch of GII 2023 in September during our International Industry Innovation Summit. On this occasion, we will facilitate roundtable discussions with ministers responsible for science, technology, and innovation which is a vital component for our industry. I mention these examples to illustrate the immense value of our partnership with the GII. 

Therefore, we reaffirm each year the significance of the GII to us, both at CNI and MEI. The report provides invaluable information that informs our strategies in Brazil. By comparing our situation with that of our global counterparts, we gain profound insights that are applied to strategic planning processes in industry and science, technology, and innovation policies. This supports the continuous development and enhancement of the Brazilian innovation ecosystems. 


This year’s GII will explore global innovation trends within the context of an economically uncertain environment. How has Brazil’s national innovation ecosystem fared through this period?

Uncertainty has become the new global norm in the wake of the pandemic, and Brazil is no exception. In recent years, the country has grappled with financial limitations in the realms of science, technology, and innovation. These resources are crucial for stimulating private investment in innovation within the country. Consequently, the past three years have been challenging for the national innovation ecosystem in terms of funding availability.

However, 2023 marked a significant turning point. Public funding resources are now fully accessible for investments, and, crucially, they can no longer be withheld, thanks to a new law that is a testament to the tireless efforts of CNI and MEI in working with the government, particularly the legislative bodies.

While the recent four-year climate has been less than favorable for the local innovation ecosystem, a retrospective view of the past decade reveals significant progress, and from 2023 onwards, Brazil is likely to have the resources for ST&I available and strive. In the past decade, for instance, we have established 28 SENAI Innovation Institutes across every region of Brazil. This network, inspired by the Fraunhofer model and similar to the Manufacturing USA units, is actively forging partnerships with industrial firms based in Brazil.

To give you a practical sense of our innovation ecosystem’s development, consider the financing side. CNI and MEI have nurtured and incubated EMBRAPII, the Brazilian Company of Research and Industrial Innovation. EMBRAPII equips academic departments with resources to invest in projects conducted in partnership with industry, thereby encouraging multiplier effects. Firms are expected to invest, on average, two-thirds of the value invested by the EMBRAPII department, which means a great tool for leveraging private investments in innovation endeavors.

These examples illustrate some of the key developments in the national innovation ecosystem over the past decade, despite recent challenges that are no longer looming. The local ecosystem is poised for rapid evolution in terms of velocity, complexity, and output potential over the next decade. If this entire ecosystem were a stock, it would be an attractive prospect for a value investor.


The GII is a key instrument that empowers stakeholders across public and private sectors to assess the effectiveness of their policies and strategies. How do the metrics provided by the GII support CNI’s informed decision-making and efforts to increase productivity?

The Global Innovation Index (GII) provides strategic insights to decision-makers and stakeholders in the fields of science, technology, and innovation. It offers a comprehensive snapshot of an economy’s current state of innovation and its capacities for innovation, benchmarked against international standards. The global innovation trends released annually by the GII serve as a crucial source of comparative data, forming the foundation for the development of public policies and private strategies in Brazil.

For example, CNI and MEI strategic agendas heavily rely on the information provided by the GII, with digital transformation being one key aspect. We also gain insights into how policies in leading economies are supporting their strong performance in international comparisons, serving as a benchmark of best practices and pitfalls to avoid.

By identifying trends in science and innovation investments, tracking the pace of technological progress and adoption, and measuring the social impacts of innovation, we are able to formulate our long-term vision on a stronger shape, based on information that is easily actionable in practical strategies. This vision guides our engagement with local innovation ecosystems, with the aim of enhancing organizational performance and ultimately boosting the output and competitiveness of our firms and economy.


The 2023 edition of the Global Innovation Index will be launched globally on September 27th. For more information, including the agenda, registration information, and a livestream link, visit the GII website


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