Business school rankings matter in new American cities

Business schools enable innovation commercialization in new American cities. Business school rankings reflect business school performance in broad terms, so are a measure of city innovation potential. Potential that can mean big money and jobs for citizens.

Business school rankings matter. Business schools matter to many major American cities, as business is part of the implementation phase of innovation.

This is often ignored by city rankings, or innovation research that focuses on patents or R&D spend as the key measure of innovation. Our model is that business is more — not less important — to a city than patents and R&D.

This model is supported by a baseline analysis of dollars into urban economies. Dollars accrue to implemented and marketed innovation — commercialisation. In many sectors no patent is required. For ever Apple, there a raft of business services firms, innovative restaurants, architects, web companies, media companies and more. All without patents. All bring dollars to city economies.

One art museum — the Bilbao Guggenheim — brought a Spanish small city around $350 million dollars on 2007. No patents. But the Guggenheim is not art, it is the business of art. Business is the process, patents a tool.

Incidentally this doesn’t mean without I.P. protection. Patents are a tool, being mistaken for a measure. It’s worth reading Terence Kealey’s ‘Sex Science and Profits’ for an Adam Smith-style rebuttal of ‘pure research’. Research needs commercialising, and therefore, needs business.

Business schools – process of business.

Business schools are the key means of general management skills, teaching the process of business. Business schools are the distribution channel for this, alongside books, journals, associations, conferences, media, and now, social media. This is especially true across North America — inherently the world’s most interlinked capitalist free market urban economy.

Many business schools are even diversifying in a post-Mintzberg analysis, so, yes, business schools – and their business school rankings still matter. It’s often a case of absorbing criticism, and changing behaviour, although there’s still more to go.

Innovation is cross-disciplinary, broad and cross-industry.

Business school rankings in cities.

Each city and country is different. And each city within a country is different. But all wealthy economies rely on trade and business. A top-ranked business school near a city, coupled with graduate rankings, and a varied university sector will play a critical role in innovation across the city itself.

Top-ranked business schools have the potential to multiply the value of other sectors in a city. For cities a balanced multi-sector business approach is far more valuable than patent counts. Over to you.

In our City Benchmarking Data we include City Performance Indicators (a variant of the KPIs of business) for business school rankings. Our annual city rankings include business indicators for start-ups, commerce and finance as a critical part of what we term Human Infrastructure for innovation. Other city rankings do not include this information, focusing on liveability in isolation, or patents / R&D spend alone as a proxy for innovation.

Keep Innovating,

2thinknow Team