Comparing Livable Cities vs Innovation Cities.

Seattle - often a Livable City... is it an Innovation City? PHOTO SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA PUBLIC DOMAIN

Seattle – often a Livable City… is it an Innovation City? PHOTO SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA PUBLIC DOMAIN

Livability is the city reporting topic of the day. Livability ostensibly measures which city you would like to live in. Of course, in reality this is very subjective. Livable (or liveable!) cities are Geneva, Zurich, Melbourne, Vancouver, German cities – these rank well in Mercer or Economist – and some magazine rankings.

Innovation Cities doesn’t measure livability. Innovation Cities measures the potential for innovation, leading to better societies & economics in our cities.

Question: Which cities will perform well later by investing in innovation now?

[The OECD reently identified Finnish & Korean innovation expenditure as speeding up their recovery in the last recession. So it’s a critical question in 2009.] See: (Click here)

Innovation is, in short, the answer out of a financial & broader crisis – andis recognized by most economists (alongside productivity) as the only true source of sustained economic growth.

In 2009 Innovation Cities measures mid-term economic & social performance by measuring the pre-conditions innovation across a broad range of sectors. The Index was started as rankings in 2007 based on 2005 research.

Are Livable Cities Innovative?

Although we share some indicators, yes and no. Calgary (top-ranked by some) is hardly the equal of Boston or Paris. 2thinknow take the view of measuring economic, social, cultural indicators in a matrix to predict future economic & social performance.

Of course, livability is in reality a personal choice – with many Swiss & Germans leaving Zurich & Munich for the warmer climates of Sydney or even Brisbane which rank less well.

2thinknow aim to more objectively measure the pre-conditions for innovation at a level of detail that allows for the distortion inherent in statistics across cultures. These cities may become livable, or be livable now.

If that does your head in here’s the point: we don’t use statistics, we use statistics as only one source of real-world evidence. We also integrate markets – so if a city is popular (eg. tourist destination, art galleries, media/public attendance at film festival) that’s included.

We uniquely utilise that vote from the ‘crowd’ (or ‘cloud’) as a sign the city ranks highly on say art galleries, tourist visits and cinema.

Also we integrate a number of rational (how economist say we behave) & behavioural (how we really behave) economic theories, as well as unique 2thinknow innovation usable insight on market size impact on innovation.


Increasingly, Vienna is the top ranked city – for which 2thinknow must take some credit for being first to recognize the Austrian capital as #1 worldwide in 2007 rankings – continue to rank well.

However, 2thinknow are examining future economic & social performance across a broad variety of industries & opportunities based on pre-conditions.

The Innovation Cities Index for 2009 is released July 28, with Innovation Cities Analysis Report shipping August.