Frequently Asked Questions about the Innovation Cities Index 2016-2017. < Back to Indexes FAQ by Topic: General | Data | Packages | Previous Years| Models & Method| City Governments | Report | Media | Future Indexes
Index General Questions
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What is the Innovation Cities™ Index?
The Index is a classification designed to help people determine which cities are the best general places for innovation in a given year.
This is done based on assessing innovation pre-conditions via examining 162 indicators (that use up to 1300 data points), which are benchmarked and converted to 3 factor scores using 2thinknow's model.
Cities that are Nexus represent the best places to develop innovation, based on current trends. Hub cities are the next best and so on.
How does it work?
The Innovation Cities™ Index classifies 500 cities in 2015 across all populated regions into 4 classifications.
The Innovation Cities Index works by identifying the pre-conditions for innovation in each city, and measuring these pre-conditions through a 3 factor score based on 2thinknow's extensive City Benchmarking Data set of 162 indicators.
Cities with stronger pre-conditions for innovation typically will display stronger correlations to jobs, lifestyle, economic development and favourable investment -- assuming they are able to sustain those pre-conditions.
In this way, the Innovation Cities Index is a pre-cursor Index, in that many cities move up in our Index before they move up in other city rankings. (e.g. Melbourne, Vienna, Amsterdam, Boston, were all first to be noticed in our Index, among many others).
What are the 2016-2017 classifications?
All cities are classified based on Index Scores into 5 classifications by score:
NEXUS: City is a critical nexus for large number of economic and social innovation segments, on an ongoing basis.
HUB: City has dominance on key economic and social innovation segments based on current global trends.
NODE: City has a strong performance across many innovation segments, with key imbalances or issues.
All developed cities should score in these top 3 bands. Emerging cities should aim to score in thee below band:
UPSTART: City has potential strong future performance, with some further improvement.
(in previous years there was a separate Influencer band, but this has been merged now into Upstart).
Cities that score below the Upstart band are not classified as they scored below the half way mark of the scoring range.
I am a journalist, can you help?
There are free media release and rankings available to all.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for other requests such as interviews, or further resources (including a special report or rankings file for accredited journalists only). Please advise us your publication and beat.
I want to do in-depth research, what are my options?
Specific analysis can be done by looking at the region, sub-region or national filters, and we suggest you purchase the Innovation Cities Analysis Report 2016-2017 (with pre-order for this year option), which includes the full 3 factor scores. This is sufficient for trend analysis, and looking at cities innovation eco-systems comparatively.
How do I use the Indexes for my innovation?
The Index is designed to help innovators determine which cities are generally the best places for innovation development or investment in a given year.
Both Nexus and Hub cities are recommended as general innovation destinations given other factors such as the culture (e.g. if you are Spanish you may need a Spanish location).
If you are already within a country another city in that country may increase your innovation possibilities.
In this way, your use should be relative. While London may be #1, if you were a Spanish innovator, Barcelona may be your best bet. And if you were in Latin America, Buenos Aires of Mexico City remain strong this year. If you spoke Portuguese, you may choose Sao Paulo or Rio.
What does the ranking of cities mean?
The ranking of each city is based on 2thinknow detailed analysis of each cities underlying data. Rankings are the fun stuff, but classifications are what really matter. Rankings are more telling at the top of a list than the bottom, also as the ranking represents 2thinknow's view on the best places to innovate.
Movements in the ranking can indicate methodology differences, and significant improvement. Significant movement (above 20-40 places) indicates improvement, or relative decline generally.
This sounds pretty in-depth, are you seeking investment?
Yes, from VCs. We have 10+ years in innovation and city data, and a catalog of new ideas for SAAS uses, and improving your cities.
Please email email@example.com to be put in touch with Investor Relations contact.
I am from a business and I want raw comparative data on cities?
One of the strengths of the Innovation Cities Index, is that it has allowed 2thinknow to compile the world's largest City Benchmarking Data set of data on cities.
2thinknow already work with many of the world's largest corporations and consulting firms.
These data points are available as Standard Indicators, or raw data points for business or consulting firms. Typically raw Data Points are the most useful to business.
If you want to compare cities, purchase detailed Comparative City Data from City Benchmarking Data.
I am from a City and I want specific guidance.
If you want specific guidance regarding your city and the Innovation Cities Index, please purchase a cities package with email support.
This will enable you to receive all data we hold on your city for promotional purposes for high ranked cities. The cost coverts our cost in liaising with you, and part of the cost of our data set (most is covered by business customers who use our data for investment).
For cities seeking to improve, this subscription will allow you to vie all data and provide evidence which we will consider in reassessing your city, as well as discuss the ranking. For cities beneath 200 this can produce marked improvements, where such cities may not have adequate data. For cities ranked above 200, such improvements are likely to be smaller.
What are the major changes this year?
Introduction of 6 new indicators and deprecation (removal) of 6 indicators of the 162 indicators consulted in the preparation of the 3 factor scores.
Even more focus on startups, tax reform and smart devices.
Significant change to benchmarks in indicators
Different assumptions based on events of 2016.
The effect of these and other changes is a change in scores, meaning cities cluster more around a score, and many cities have experienced a drop in scores.
Reason for this is more 'global' top cities, and a tighter field of 'competing' cities as explained in the analysis.
Other major changes in calculation, but overall method remains same as recent years.
When was the data prepared this year for the cities index?
Over 60% of the data was prepared in November 2016 to February 2017, so the Innovation Cities Index is by far the most recent cities ranking and classification index.
Many other city rankings use data as far back as 2010 or earlier.
We have also been consistently published for 10 years, and improved each year.
Have there been any corrections to Innovation Cities Index 2016-2017?
Not at this stage. Corrections will be noted on this website and in the full report (for order).
Which cities are best for general (non industry specific) innovation?
Nexus cities are the best general innovation destinations across the broadest range of industry segments.
Hub cities have a slightly smaller range of segments in which they have innovation potential.
Node cities are globally competitive, but results will vary greatly depending on your industry.
I want to answer a specific research question, or make my own ranking?
Therefore it is best to create business or product innovation in a city with the highest relative performance within your constraints (such as language, culture, industry, etc). Before making a decision you should request detailed Comparative City Data on a generally select sub set of cities that meet your basic criteria.
What are the cities scores?
The cities in the free Index all receive a 3 factor summary score, for Cultural Assets, Human Infrastructure and Networked Markets. In 2016 these are scored out of 20, prior to 2014 these were out of 10. As we evolve the model further with each iteration, this will change.
3 factor scores published are based on the 162 standardized indicators of the City Benchmarking Data-set consulted by our analysts. Each of the indicators match 31 segments, which summarized into 3 factor scores for the Innovation Cities™ Index.
The relationship between 3 factors, 31 segments, 162 indicators and the underlying data points are explained over on our City Benchmarking Data site Data page.
For 3 factor data on cities since 2007, please purchase a Bronze or other package All packages come with email support.
Where can I get an explanation of the rationale behind the Index?
Click for a brief overview of 2016, 2015, 2014 methodology as well as this FAQ.
For urban professionals or thinkers, a detailed practical foundation purchase this year's Innovation Cities Analysis Report -- which you can order online here as print, standard (PDF + print) or slide format.
How are the Index city rankings done based on score ?
Analysts compare cities with the same 3 factor scores and competitively rank them based on their current performance within their band. Every city with the same 3 factor score may have relative strengths and weaknesses related to current trends -- e.g. technical innovation may be more important than medical in a given year, or vice versa.
The classification is more important than the ranking, all things being equal. Since 2014 all cities are now ranked (up from 30% in prior years).
Where can I read more about City Benchmarking Data?
Take a look at the dedicated City Benchmarking Data product site, especially the Data page -- explaining how factors, segment, indicators, benchmark scores and data points capture information about cities, and allow easy comparison in the 2thinknow model.
My city is a Nexus, why is this important?
Nexus cities have a high probability of from pre-conditions to create innovation not just in science, but in areas such as product, process, business, service, policy and other types of innovation. That is because the have strengths in multiple segments of their innovation economy. So if you were looking for a strong city to create innovation in general, Nexus cities are a great choice -- unless you have specific industry in mind.
Besides the global index, what other indexes are there?
There are 4 regional indexes for Americas, Europe, Asia and Emerging are extracted from the main Global index. We also have have released the full rankings of cities in what are termed Sub Regions, which is a further sub division of the world into geographical divisions.
These sub regions that reflect the major geographic and political bloc groupings globally.
Some journalists also publish country rankings. Which you are free to do.
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What is the data basis of the Index?
2thinknow analysts update a City Benchmarking Data set of 162 indicators. Each indicator contains a band score based on a set of a mix of data points from a wide variety of sources. Across the full data-set there are over 5000 sources at the time of publication. The band scores are standardized comparisons between cities that may otherwise be very different due to culture, location, population, etc.
Our analysts consult these standardized 162 indicators of data to form the 3 factor scores you see in the Index.
How can data be purchased?
Our City Benchmarking Data site explains our commercial cities data-set consulted to produce the Index each year
I need to know about a specific industry for innovation, how can I find out?
The detailed underlying data of 162 standard indicators, and further custom indicators can answer any research question you may have on an industry in any city. Contact us for a Proposal for data or an analyst report.
How many cities does your underlying indicator data cover?
The City Benchmarking Data covers 525 cities for 162 indicators at this time of publication (2016). The additional 25 cities benchmarked each year for calibration purposes, but not published, and a further 1200 cities in our data-set for which we hold some data.
Other data is available for the full 1725+ cities we track some data on, some of which will be added to the Index in future years. The Indicators are designed using algorithms so that even in the absence of perfect underlying data-sets a accurate opinion of performance of a city can be formed.
This is especially useful in emerging markets or even large portions of Asia where data is scarce, and official data is incomplete. It is also useful to benchmark U.S. cities (where data is plentiful for some indicators) against competing world cities to identify comparable investment opportunities in locations anywhere.
I need to know the pluses/minuses of a single location for business investment, how can I?
I wish to compare multiple cities on multiple data areas (livability, cost of living, transport, etc)
Request Comparative City Data-set or just contact us with your data requirements for a Proposal. Anything (almost) is possible, and we have done data/analysis location comparison projects successfully for a number of large companies including Samsung, Ernst & Young, Ogilvy and a number of corporations and governments. Simply Contact Us.
Do you sell the whole City Benchmarking Data Set?
No. We sell access as City Data Audit for single cities. Or Comparative Data-set -- collections of comparative indicators or raw data points for selected cities.
We also prepare custom data projects of any data points for any cities and/or analysis for clients like Samsung, Ernst & Young, Ogilvy, BCG and others.
Contact us for a full Proposal based on whatever data you need.
Our pricing is very competitive compared to the non-specialised management consulting firms, due to our specialization and knowhow.
We may in future license the whole data-set to a corporate partner for a sizable investment.
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How do I get access to the Innovation Cities Index before others?
2thinknow offers 3 Innovation Cities Service Packages: Bronze, Silver and Platinum. All subscribers of the packages can in 2016 (upon request) get partial access to the results of the Index 7-14 days before release. In addition they receive final results just prior to release.
Please click here for more information about the city packages.
Are there any benefits for package subscribers related to the Index?
Yes. There are many benefits for the package subscribers. In addition to the complete data set for your city, you can get analyst explanation of the index for your city. Package subscribers also receive substantial discounts on training and services that can build your cities urban innovation economy. If you understand the Index better than the others, your city will innovate better than the others!
Can I get data on any city?
When you subscribe for any of the Silver or Platinum Package, you can ask for a City Data Audit [SCD] on ANY city, even those not listed. This includes all cities globally. The 525 cities will be provided more quickly, however, SCDs can be prepared on any city globally.
All cities are benchmark scored against our core 525 city data set in 2016 onwards. Our pricing is very competitive compared to the non-specialised management consulting firms, due to our specialization and knowhow.Purchase online here.
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Is there any difference between cities included in earlier years?
Yes. Data obtained up to 2012-13 has been through more cycles in our data-set (cities such as Paris have been through more than 9 cycles in total, and many partial cycles) have the greatest confidence, the next greatest confidence is the 442 cities in 2015. We adjust the underlying data each year, so 3 factor data is less likely to vary for stable cities that have been in the Index for some time (except due to war, economic disruption, external events, etc). For this reason cities ranked below 400 are most likely to improve over time.
Each year we improve the process, and we in 2015-2016 we have revised over 60% of the data set from scratch, so this year is our year of highest confidence to date.
Can I purchase historical 3 factor Index data?
All subscribers receive detailed 3 factor data for all years and a less detailed version
How do city Rankings vary from year to year?
Data shows the strengths (and weaknesses) of cities. These are adjusted for current trends (e.g. manufacturing cities may do well in certain years, less well in others).
This is why a diversified and appropriately structured city will perform well over time in the Index (and will perform well in innovation over time). A more focused city may do well in only a few years.
Economic events shift the Index (eg. GFC 2008+ created downward momentum in cities on periphery of Europe). We are working on new ways to use our unique trend analysis in future Indexes.
Can I purchase historical indicator data?
No right now. We are planning to release a historical indicator product in future.
Ongoing improvements to the data-set mean that for past data it is rarely an apples to apples comparison -- e.g. our transition from qualitative to quantitative data points is almost complete since 2012 project started. The Indexes are not effected as they are based on a snapshot of the data reduced to a 3 factor score. Issues are practically eliminate by the granularity design of our data from factors down to data points.
Once our data systems undergo further design upgrades to cope with the process (and volume) we will offer historical data going forward.
We can offer historical data for raw Data Points (ie. time series) -- such as number of startups, architect firms, twitter users, etc.
Are there any estimates in each year of the Index?
Newer cities added in each year will include more estimates, but our estimate process is designed to mathematically make little difference to a cities ranking.
Cities in China and Emerging markets include more estimates. E.g. the score for Kabul is estimated based on available information.
We are confident of the range of possible scores, due to the algorithmic design of the Index.
Are any cities scores withheld?
Some cities are not yet published where we feel we are not confident in the range of possible scores.
Do Nexus cities change much from year to year? Are there typical Nexus cities?
Cities such as Paris, Boston, San Francisco, Amsterdam, London and New York will typically under current methodology always be Nexus cities.
Trends support the movement of other cities up or down, and in and out of Nexus cities. London has rapidly advanced as a Nexus, based on the negative position of London in earlier versions of the Index. Smaller or less connected cities may move in and out of Nexus based on their government, business and community choices.
What are the differences from previous years?
The trend analysis underlying the rankings is different each year, and we have tried in this year, as much as possible to assume volatility.
Hence national capitals and major cities tend to do better this year, as in the result of volatility, more political locations tend to do better (as the government increases there interference in the economy, favoring the major cities) -- and are more predictable as innovation destinations.
Also there is a form or economic 'triage' in place where government interference results in favoritism of the major economic centers (whereas unhindered markets allow capital to flow where it's best deployed).
Models & Methods
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What is the 31 segments model?
The 31 segments cover all major industries and community activity areas of any urban economy. 2thinknow analysts use these to analyse the urban innovation economy. You can review the 31 segments here.
So what does Innovation Cities mean for ideas?
Ideas are viruses (as Seth Godin argued recently, but was more academically argued by Stanford's Professor Everett Rodgers in Diffusion of Innovations).
2thinknow have mapped the process of idea communication and adoption as a process of innovation. Part of this process can be overlayed onto mapping the pre-conditions for innovation via the 3 Factors. i.e. How possible is it for ideas to become innovations as a structured process, in a given location.
What are the 3 Factors?
The 3 Factors of the Innovation Cities™ Framework are explained in detail regarding cities in our accompanying report. For an explanation of how this relates to our city data click here.
How do Factors, Segments and Indicators link together?
This is explained in brief in the City Benchmarking Data site here. Each level has strategic benefits in analysis and understanding a city.
What is the difference in the top ranked cities?
The top ranked cities are the best choice for innovation. In our view cities like London, New York, Tokyo, Silicon Valley and other top cities are all good choices depending on speaking English or Japanese and of course the industry profile of each city (for which you need detailed indicators or data points). Segment analysis can explain what strengths a city has.
Can I examine the Index by country?
You can download a basic excel file for easy analysis from the Index page.
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My city has become a Nexus from Hub what does that mean?
This means our analysis is that your city has become a city with increased innovation potential in a broad variety of segments compare with all other competing cities. Nexus cities have more innovation potential in a broader range of 31 segments.
My city has declined significantly, what does that mean?
This means that other competing cites are doing better (in general) against this years trends than you.
Chances are you will know internally why the city has declined, as bad news travels faster than good news.
This does not mean you are bad at 'tech' or 'science' we are measuring innovation pre-conditions.
Can cities that decline improve rapidly?
Yes! Athens and Detroit have posted very large gains between indexes (about 15 months).
If you hit bottom, take action, try a lot and keep what works you will improve.
Our city declined 20 places whould I be worried?
This depends. A decline of 20 places at the top of the top Nexus cities is more significant than within the Hub, which is much more significant than Node.
Generally no, unless you are a Nexus city.
How many cities do you include?
500 cities in 2015, 445 cities in 2014, less in previous years.
We have a city benchmarking data-set of 1,700+ cities in total for which we track some data. Cities are selected from a list of cities based on health, wealth, geography and other core factors. This includes population, GDP, GDP per capita and infant mortality among other base factors. This may be relative to ensure a geographic representation using our proprietary model for ensuing some cities in each region are represented.
How can my city improve it's classification or ranking?
Obviously the lower your relative ranking, the further improvement can be made (and the quicker). The higher a position your city aspires to the harder it is is to improve, as their is much more competition.
The Index is inherently conservative, so some cities will move up in some years due to corrections to underlying data based on superior evidence being located.
Does my city need to submit data to the Innovation Cities Index?
Our Index does not rely on data submitted by cities, except where they have published statistics or data on their own websites or in publications.
The Index is currently prepared with data gathered by 2thinknow in the form of 162 indicators and our internal analysis. This is based on data in a mix of locations and languages from over 5,000 sources and standardized.
Cities that purchase a Silver or Platinum service package can view our detailed standard indicators data and suggest changes or corrections based on superior evidence.
All suggestions must meet our evidential standards and we reject 80%+ of suggestions. However, it can assist correct misinformation.
Can we mail you information?
2thinknow have a library. Cities and organizations are free to mail us DVD/CD-Roms of data, or printed materials, books, journals to be added to our library.
Mail to: 2thinknow, Innovation Cities Program, GPO Box 3375, Melbourne VIC, AUSTRALIA 3001.
Information can be emailed however due to the large volume of emails received we prefer physical media. Excel, Word, PowerPoint, PDF or Kindle formats accepted electronically.
Can I submit data to the Innovation Cities Index/City Benchmarking Data?
Can I sell you data about cities?
if you have a survey good sources, good methods, strong evidence or specialist data-sets, yes you can. (assuming we don't already have it). Please Contact Us
How can another city rise when I think my city is better?
2thinknow analysts take a detached rational view of cities and try not to be swayed by temporary issues and problems. In most years, rather than have the Index radically change from year to year we take a look at mid (2-7 years) and long term (7 years+) trends as part of the ranking cities.
2016-2017 was a radical reworking year, like 2012-2013. Hence there are changes in rankings.
Whilst say a city may score artificially high on one measure due to manipulation, to improve in our Index cities can score better by small improvements in many indicators.
Why do some cities rise despite problems?
In the case of emerging or non-Western locations or cities with less public data, we may have obtained better information about the city. One of the primary ways a city can rise in the Index is if better information is obtained. We will always use the best available information, which reflects our bias towards rational information from diverse sources to analyse cities.
So even if the trend is down, better evidence may cause a rise especially in areas where information is difficult to obtain.
Also, the problems may be offset by good news that is not reported. Multiple small improvements in several indicators may offset a decline in one indicator (e.g. Electricity & Gas in Adelaide).
A city has changed to a lower classification this year, what does that mean?
This means that in general based on favorable industries and trends in 2014-2017 the city is slightly less favoured for general innovation than it was in 2013.
Some cities have had sudden falls, why?
French and German cities have fallen relative to peers, and relative to their past potential. This is due to European economic issues, and lack of improvement against other cities. Some other cities worldwide have fallen, please compare the Indexes to see.
My city is a Node City, what does this mean?
Node means globally competitive for some types of innovation. These cities are a good bet, unless you have a better Hub or Nexus option -- or if the Node city has a strength in your particular industry.
Can a Nexus ever become a Node?
A Nexus city is unlikely to fall below Hub status. So a Nexus is unlikely to become Node except in the case of extreme events such as war, strong economic issues or major long term disaster.
If a city is not listed, what does this mean?
The city is classified as a Node city or below in this year, all cities that wold be score well enough to reach Nexus status and Hub status are captured, and in all years there are no omitted Hub Cities. If you would like an indicative idea, look at similar geographic and economic cities in your region or country.
Are some cities included within other cities?
Yes, for the Index purposes, we include the surrounding suburbs or smaller metros in cities. The normal zone is based on government urban zones.
Is the 2thinknow city index the largest?
Yes. We create the largest index classification of 500 benchmark cities (2015) and 445 cities (2014) and ranking of top cities worldwide, using 162 indicators.
What is a ‘good performance’ for a city?
A good performance is a Node city. We classify this as competitive.
A Node city may be perceived as better by residents than the residents of cities who may have higher expectations.
A nNode city can still dominate a single industry segment, and in fact that is often how Node cities become Hub cities.
My city is a Hub city, is this less important than a Nexus City?
No. Hub cities have competencies in slightly fewer sectors, and may be dominated by fewer industry and community segments. Cities that focus on a few key industries tend to become Hubs (or even nodes). Which city is right for you depends on the industry you are in, and your cultural background.
Why do you include more indicators than other indexes?
We consult 162 standard indicators. We are producing an overall city index score for all all cities and ranking of top cities.
There are 39 indicators in Mercer. Some indexes have 5 indicators. Ours is more about a balanced economy for innovation across many sectors.
Also our data is more recent and improved every year. Making each index better.
How are cities selected for inclusion?
The cities are selected based on demographic, geographic, economic, health and social factors from a list of 1,540 cities.
To ensure a global mix of cities, we then select a set number of cities from different nations with potential for innovation.
Cities that work with 2thinknow as package customers may be included ahead of similar size cities as we have more data for these cities. So for some cities we may accelerate the timeline for listing. It is unlikely however that such cities would enter the index above the Node status -- which is the central position for cities.
Innovation Cities™ Analysis Report
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Where can I get an overview of the Innovation Cities™ Framework?
The Innovation Cities™ Framework is the centrepiece of the Innovation Cities™ Analysis Report
The report gives the context of measuring urban innovation economies, summarizes each segment and city indicator. It’s a low-cost introduction. There are excerpts and tables of contents on the above site.
What else is important in the Report?
In each report we make predictions about the immediate future of the world, and recommendations on high level actions and possible world events. So far we have predicted the climate of the GFC, the strength of the German economy, U.S. economic issues, the circumstances for the Ukraine crisis. Significantly we have also made very few errors compared with the many reports published by larger firms. We also hold a quite contrarian view to mainstream commentary.
The predictions come primarily from the City Benchmarking Data, and change trend and innovation models of Christopher Hire, our Director Data.
These analysis are clearly stated and are used to prepare the final comparative Innovation Cities™ rankings.
How do I purchase the Innovation Cities Analysis Report?
Is the Innovation Cities™ Analysis Report about specific cities?
Many cities are profiled in the Innovation Cities™ Analysis Report, however, it’s purpose is to outline a framework and elements you may need to build an urban innovation economy. The 3 factor scores for all cities are included in the report.
How do I get a detailed report on a specific city?
You can order a detailed City Data Audit on any city from 2thinknow. This includes 162 city indicators of data, with evidence for each score, a variety of goodies.
You can also commission a custom written report with analyst commentary – Contact Us.
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Is there a media release?
Yes. Our Media Release is provided with each index and headline rankings for use by media of all kinds.
Can I reproduce the indexes or top rankings?
Yes, definitely. Please attribute.
Can you send me extra resources?
Can you do an interview?
Will you help out my blog
If you are not a journalist, yes you can publish our Media Release and send us some quick questions via email.
Do you accept all interviews?
Mostly yes. We don't like interviews that are never published from people pretending to be journalists however, whatever the purpose. (Some people pretend to be journalists but are actually gathering information for other purposes, tsk tsk).
Please email us from a email address linked to your employer, not a yahoo or gmail address (unless we know you personally as an accredited journalist).
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When will the next Index be published?
The Innovation Cities Index is annual index. Note that we will update this from time to time on this website.
How can I include my city in the next year's Index?
Any city can request to be included. However, the main cities by population, connections and economic contribution are already included. More cities will be included in future automatically based on our internal geographic and economic distribution process. This year we changed a few cities, but did not increae the number due to it being a redesign year.
To fast track inclusion, any city can purchase a City Review Visit (price varies by location) or a Platinum Package. These packages ensure your city will be reviewed more rapidly and comprehensively, and guarantees your ability to request inclusion in the next Index year.
Will new cities vary next year?
This depends on trends, or wars, natural disasters, etc in emerging countries for example. Some better data may improve an Index score (or occasionally reduce a score). Cities tend to be scored conservatively first year published unless there is a compelling data / analysis reason.
Why are Nexus cities the best all-round destinations for future innovation?
The nexus cities have the most balanced performance across multiple sectors of the economy. If you are not sure which sector of the economy you want, these are the cities. These cities tend to balance livability with opportunity. Hub cities have a wide variety of opportunities across more than one segment or sector.
We recommend detailed City Benchmarking Data for each city -- including data in the segments you wish to invest in.