MEDIA RELEASE: Boston #1 for Innovation


2thinknow — Boston has been rated the best US city for innovation, tying scores with previous winner Vienna in Europe.

Boston also edged past Amsterdam, Paris,  San Francisco, which rounded out the top five cities in the annual 2thinknow Innovation Cities Index.

European cities dominated the top Innovation Cities, with 61% of the top 75 in the European Union. US Cities were mainly from coastal states or the  Great Lakes area.

London rose unexpectedly, followed by Hamburg, New York, Tokyo and Lyon in France. Toronto in Canada came in 19th, as Melbourne fell from 8th to 20th followed by Sydney in 22nd place. Vancouver placed 48th followed by Montréal.

The Index looks at which cities are taking the steps towards embracing innovation. Innovation now will lead to faster economic recovery and better resources for citizens in the next few years.

The Index looks at 162 Indicators including an active arts scene, architecture, environment, openness, setting up a business, creative media sectors, mobility, internet technologies, diverse base of industries, tourism,  and how much market power the city had in world markets to sell innovations.

The often-overlooked market factor formed one third of the Index and resulted in the inter-connected European Union cities in Germany and France scoring highest overall. For the same reason, the need for better infrastructure in Asia impacted their scores

“The biggest story is the rise of networked European Union cities, relative to the decline of middle-America US cities.” said Christopher Hire, of 2thinknow.

“But if you have an idea, the top 150 of the cities analysed all represent a good destination for some type of innovation. Whether it’s a web start-up in San Francisco, laneway retail in Melbourne, smart manufacturing in Kobe or fashion in Paris.

“Your city will have key clusters, key industries that some citizens can use to create future economic & social wealth. We may have a recession, but the key to innvoation success is knowing which innovation can succeed where.” Hire added.

Harvard & the Massachusetts Institute of technology contributed to the rise of Boston, and a temporary retreat of East Europe led to a slight downward movement of Vienna. Paris was very close also to first place, being held back by famous French bureaucracy in business establishment.

However, Vienna and Paris both scored a perfect 10 for Inspiration – which measures the overall strength of the cities cultural assets such as museums, art galleries, airport access, food and wine, music venues, sports industry and fashion design.

Boston was in many ways better placed than New York with a less financial-services reliant city, that has the advantage of global consulting firm connections to roll-out new innovations.

Compared with past years, one major surprise was Washington DC at No 15. This was largely indirectly due to the Obama Effect – as the US capitol is now critical to innovation in sciences and business as one of the nations largest shareholders.

Singapore 31st just won close race with Hong Kong 38th as the pre-eminent Asian hub.

Abu Dhabi at No 50. outranked Dubai, as financial problems overtook the more well-known Mid-East hub. Shanghai followed at No. 52, largely on broader China issues.

The 2thinknow Innovation Cities Index has been published since 2007, and is available from the website for with 256 cities scored in 2009.

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256 Cities Index:
Understanding the Index:
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Christopher Hire
Executive Director of Innovation
2thinknow (twitter )

On Twitter follow @christopherhire or @2thinknow