Innovation Cities Index 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014


Innovation Cities Index 2014

Silicon Valley beat previous winners Boston, New York and Vienna to become the world’s most innovative city in 2014, in the 8th annual Innovation Cities Index released by global innovation agency, 2thinknow.

Behind the San Francisco – San Jose area, this year’ s winners for the global innovation economy in order were New York, London, Boston (past winner), Paris, Vienna, Munich, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Seattle in the global top cities. Regionally, San Francisco – San Jose won in the Americas, Seoul won for the first time in Asia, London won in Europe and Dubai came first in the Emerging region for the second time. Sydney beat long time Australian winner Melbourne for first place overall, and 17th globally.

According to the analysts, this year’s ranking reinforces the power of Silicon Valley, just when many voices are questioning the Valley’s role in both tech and non-tech innovation.

“Innovation is now a city based phenomenon. The most important aspect of innovation at this time is moving towards the productive economy that creates value — and away from a stagnant and negative economy of non-investment,” said Christopher Hire, Executive Director at 2thinknow.

After the top 10, other fast moving cities this year were Tel Aviv (now 24th), Helsinki (up eleven places to 25th), Singapore (now 27th), Tokyo (up ten places to 15) and Oslo (up six places to 32nd).

2thinknow analysts publish the Index every year to measure the potential for innovation in cities, on the economic basis that cities with more innovation will have higher economic output.

According to the analysts, top-ranked cities are the best destinations to invest in commercial product, service or social innovation without a specific industry focus.

United States, Canada & Latin America

In the United States top Nexus cities after the top 10 included Los Angeles (14), rising Chicago (21), Washington DC (26) and Philadelphia (31). Fast risers Raleigh-Durham (40) and Houston (42) were followed by Austin (44), Dallas-Fort Worth (46) then Orlando and Miami.

“The story in the U.S. is the distribution of innovation across major cities with large population bases. This is in part due to larger domestic markets within the city and related networked markets within the city. Americans have a choice of a wide range of locations to form start-ups or commercialize innovation,” said Mr Hire.

In Canada, Toronto remained first and 11th globally. This was followed by Montréal (36th globally), Vancouver (39), Québec (69) and fast mover Calgary (92) then Edmonton (122). Ottawa and Winnipeg also moved up in score compared to 2013.

“Calgary has a booming economy as the effects of the new oil boom can hopefully be translated into a broader innovation economy for the Alberta region.”

In Latin America, São Paulo (123) and Rio de Janeiro (138) moved up to first place while Mexico City (187) fell in the increasingly volatile region. Buenos Aires (242) remained steady, while improvements in Colombia saw Medellin (265) rise further in the index ahead of Bogotá (315).

Asia & Oceania

In Asia, Seoul (12) rose rapidly to Asian region first place, ahead of Tokyo (15), fast rising Sydney (17) and past regional winners Hong Kong (20) and Melbourne (23). Singapore (27) rose above Kyoto (34) and Shanghai (35) who beat rising Beijing (50). In Australia and New Zealand, Brisbane (60) rose to separate itself from Auckland (106), Wellington (121), Adelaide (160), Perth (183) and the Gold Coast (185).

For China, Nanjing (127), Suzhou (182) and Guangzhou (190) rose amidst falls in other mainland Chinese cities. In India, the globally rising city of Mumbai (91) was ahead of Bangalore (184), Delhi (256), Chennai (262) and Pune (267) were top-ranked.

“The confluence of technology and infrastructure in innovation is shown in the winner Seoul, which is often overlooked — yet home to globally important companies like Samsung, Hyundai and LG. Nationally, China continues to dominate as an economy, but on a city basis Korean and Japanese cities are growing as innovation locations and innovative producers”, Mr Hire said.

Europe & Russia

In Europe, London (3rd globally) displaced former European winners Paris (5) and Vienna (6). Other top-ranked European cities were Munich (7th falling one place), Amsterdam (8), Copenhagen (9) and risers such as Helsinki (25), Oslo (32) and Leipzig (33).

Barcelona (56) remained Spain’s top-ranked city and Moscow (63) was Russia’s top-ranked city ahead of St Petersburg (81). Prague (62) and Budapest (64) were the top cities in East Europe ahead of fast-riser Belgrade (104).

Mid-East, Africa & Eurasia

In the Middle-East, Dubai (28th globally) remained the innovative capital of the Gulf ahead of Abu Dhabi (65).

“With towering buildings, a profound structural belief in visible innovation within those who are expatriates — Dubai continues to grow in global importance by building a multi-sector performance in innovation.” Hire added.

In Africa, Cape Town (128) remains top-ranked. Dar es Salaam (429) and Dakar (439) were raising cities regionally.

In Eurasia, recent instability saw Baku (345) rise ahead of Lviv (350) as Kiev (361) fell. Pakistan cities Karachi (438) and Lahore (441) remained among the worst regionally, and the lowest ranked cities globally were Lagos (443), Kinshasa (444) and Kabul (445).

These were the results from the Innovation Cities Program, which is overseen by 2thinknow, and published as an annual index of the world’s top city innovation economies. The index assesses which locations around the world have the best conditions for development of commercial innovation. To do this each city is classified into 5 performance bands, with the top scored cities classified as a Nexus and the next a Hub. There were 40 Nexus cities this year, and 97 Hub cities from 445 cities in total.

The balance of cities was classified as Node cities or in two lower performance bands. According to the analyst’s classification, Node cities are globally competitive for innovation.

The analysts comment that city performance is more flexible, changeable and faster to turn around than national performance. More at: or

Posted by:

Shayne Heffernan


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