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Britain is the one of the most innovative countries in the world, surfing the crest of every new tech revolution, right?

Wrong.

New research from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania shows the UK languishing behind Belgium and even Venezuela, with new technologies taking an average of 8 years to take off here.

At least we beat France

Topping the list - unsurprisingly - is Japan, where new gadgets take a mere 5.4 years to reach the mainstream. Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands round off the top five, trailed by the USA (6.2 years) and half a dozen countries before Great Britain makes showing, just a notch above France.

At the bottom of the league table were Vietnam and China, where innovations take a sluggish 13.9 years to succeed.

Deepa Chandrasekaran, Assistant Professor at Lehigh University, says, "More products are being introduced at a quick rate, and the ability of a nation to embrace those changes is a true indicator of how innovative it has become."

Chandrasekaran and his team tracked the launch of 16 different technologies, including both 'fun' products (CD, VHS, MP3 and DVD players, mobile phones, PCs and handhelds, video and digital cameras and tape recorder, broadband and the internet) and 'work' devices (microwave oven, dishwasher, freezer, tumble dryer and washing machine), over a period of 55 years.

Fun is fast

The study indicated that time to takeoff was significantly shorter for fun products (7.3 years) than work gadgets (11.8 years).

The researchers also noted that the speed of technology is accelerating. Products launched before World War 2 took around 15 years to take off, whereas those developed in the 1970s took a decade.

Products being launched now can expect to reach the mainstream (or die trying) within just two or three years.