Top 100 city rankings for the innovation economy 2010



Boston was again ranked the top city of the global innovation economy in volatile economic conditions,  according to Australian consulting innovation analysts, 2thinknow.

2thinknow developed the index in 2007 for start-up businesses, creatives and cities to determine their cities relative performance in the global innovation economy. Top-ranked cities may have better economic opportunities for all of us, due to their innate innovation economics building future industries for employment and community services.

This year, Paris and Amsterdam contested the top spot with Boston, being ranked second and third, respectively, in the 2thinknow Innovation Cities Top 100 Index. Since 2009 Vienna has moved to fourth place and New York to fifth place. The cities of Frankfurt, San Francisco, Copenhagen, Lyon and Hamburg, rounded out the top ten places. Australia's strong relative economy was represented by Melbourne and Sydney, placed 19th and 28th respectively.

The top 100 cities were ranked from 289 cities scored, compared with 256 cities with last year.  Scored cities were classified in five groupings for their importance to the innovation economy. Nexus cities dominate the globally innovation economy across many sectors, followed by hub cities. Node and influencer cities have regional industry influence on innovation, so whether these were ideal places to live and work was based more on choice of industry.


The underlying index methodology was scored based on measuring 31 common industry and community segments weighted against global trends. This was reduced to a 3 factor score out of 10 measuring the cultural assets, human infrastructure and networked markets of an innovation economy. The complex process of scoring cities included the analysts assessment of the market confidence of the cities, to form a final city ranking.

Of the 289 cities considered, 282 were categorized, with 30 hub cities, 65 nexus cities, 162 node cities, 20 influencer cities and 5 upstarts. The final classification of upstart cities were identified as having future potential for innovation and included often over-looked cities of Minsk, Tirana and Montevideo.

Top-scoring Boston scored a total of 29 out of 30 across all 3 factors. To be identified as a nexus in the global innovation economy, cities needed an index score of 25 or above. Entrants that rose rapidly since 2009, included Hong Kong (now, 18), Shanghai (24) and Munich (15).These cities represented innovation performance at a global level and across many sectors of the innovation economy, with fewer negatives than hub cities.

Many competing cities scored a competitive score of 22 which was enough for them to make the bottom five of the top hundred cities. These cities identified as an innovation node included Belgrade, Atlanta and Moscow based on regional or industry performance. An example of node cities industry focus was Adelaide, an Australian city ranked outside the top 100, yet influential in the global wine-making industry.

The index measured innovation across the economy and community compared with current trends. The index relied on measuring cultural assets, and infrastructure rather than counting patents or research spending.


Overall, 19 United States cities and 6 Canadian cities made up 25 of the 27 cities in the top 100. The other 2 top-ranked cities in the Americas region were Buenos Aires (98) and São Paulo (94).

Canadian cities were well-represented after named nexus city Toronto, with Montréal (34), Calgary (71), Québec (74), Vancouver (75) and Edmonton (95) all named as hub cities. Other Canadian cities were scored in the larger 289 city global index.

The United States had 5 nexus cities named. Besides Boston, New York and San Francisco, the cities of Washington D.C. (23) and Philadelphia (30) were announced as nexus cities. There were 14 U.S. hub cities named: Seattle, Austin, Minneapolis-St Paul, Chicago, Ann Arbor, Los Angeles, Raleigh-Durham, Springfield Mass., Pittsburgh, Portland, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Baltimore and Atlanta.

In South America, Brazil's Curitiba and Rio De Janeiro as well as Mexico City,  were just outside the top 100 cities.


European cities continue to dominate amongst the top 30 cities in the index. Germany had the most nexus cities overall with Berlin (11), Stuttgart (13), Munich (15) and Düsseldorf (25) joining Frankfurt and Hamburg. London ranked 15th this year, a fall of nine places. Copenhagen rose to 8th place, with Lyon (9), Milan (16) and Stockholm (17) rising compared with 2009. Overall French and U.K. cities were highly ranked among the node cities.

In East Europe, Prague (29) was named a nexus city, with Budapest (61) the next top ranked Eastern capital, followed by Russia's Saint Petersburg (84) also named a hub city.


Asia's top city this year was Hong Kong (18) followed by Melbourne (19). Based on current trends, these were followed by Japan's Tokyo (20) and Kyoto (22). Major Asian centers Shanghai (24) and  Seoul (27), entered then global top nexus cities for the first time ahead of nexus city  Sydney (28).

This year hub cities from Asia were Singapore (31), Wellington (48) and Auckland (51), Beijing (53) and Japan's Fukoaka (52), Kobe (88) and Osaka (93). The rise of Asian centers was largely attributed by the analysts, to renewed rail and infrastructure investment by Asian cities.


In the emerging world, Abu Dhabi and Dubai were the top cities, both named as hub cities. These were followed by Cape Town in South Africa, which scored just outside the top 100 with Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

In the 289 city global index in the emerging region of the Mid-East, Caucasus and Africa, the cities of Casablanca, Doha, Riyadh, Kuwait City, Kiev, Manama, Johannesburg and Minsk were all scored. Tel Aviv in Israel ranked 50th, but was classified in the European region with Turkish city Istanbul and also, Jerusalem.

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Christopher Hire
Executive Director
2thinknow ICP
+61 3 86780319

All inquiries to email:

About 2thinknow.

2thinknow are a private network of consulting innovation analysts, based in Melbourne, Australia. 2thinknow provide innovation metrics, tools and know-how to cities and others to support decisions regarding change. These solutions for the innovation economy include analyst reports, benchmarking data, learner-led workshops, community events, consulting and design-led rankings. See

Notes for Editors

Updated index

2thinknow’s city benchmarking data set contains 1,540 cities. In 2010, the number of cities appearing in the yearly published scores and rankings was 289, up from 256 cities. The new inclusions reflected previously omitted destinations in the Emerging, Asian and Americas regions. There is a base level of development, population and services required to appear in the Index.

The Innovation Cities Index purpose is to measure the development of innovation economies globally. The index measures the 3 factor precursors to innovation -- Cultural Assets, Human Infrastructure and Networked Markets.

To make it easy to read the indexes we publish a global top 100, global full, and 4 regional indexes: Americas, Asia, Europe and Emerging. 2thinknow also published this year the first national innovation economy statistics based on how many cities are represented and their relative influence on the innovation economy at a national and regional level.

Quick facts about the Index.

  • The worldwide rankings are produced annually by analysts at innovation consulting analysts, 2thinknow.
  • The index was first produced in 2007 with 22 cities from 95 profiled.
  • The index is not a survey, but is independently researched by 2thinknow analysts.
  • City benchmarking data, contains all global cities benchmarked on 162 city indicators.
  • Data is updated between April and July 2010, with one-third of all indicators being refreshed in any given year.
  • All cities scores are weighted against 21 current trends.
  • Explanation of the 162 city indicators, and how cities can become innovation economies are contained in the Innovation Cities Analysis Report, from 2thinknow.

Reproducing the Index

The indexes and supporting materials are copyright and used under license by 2thinknow. You may reproduce the statistics and indexes in any reasonable form, graphics, or data mash-up as long as you attribute it to 2thinknow and do not modify the numbers or otherwise mislead. Print journalists can attribute in the standard fashion, or the other easy way to do this online is as follows:

Source: 2thinknow Innovation Cities™ Program: [or the link of the page you are referencing]

2thinknow do reserve all rights, including the right to ask content to be removed.

City Benchmarking Data.

City benchmarking data can be used to create your own indexes or rankings. This can ordered by contacting 2thinknow for City Data Audits, or comparisons between any cities on 1 segment or all segments of the economy. There are 31 industry and community segments.

Further information is available from 2thinknow ICP Team, by contacting us here or calling Melbourne +61 3 86780319. Or, you can visit the City Benchmarking Data site here for full details.

City rankings for reproduction.

Links to the cities indexes & national statistics


Innovation Cities™ Top 100 Index (Top 30 Nexus cities listed).

1. Boston
2. Paris
3. Amsterdam
4. Vienna
5. New York
6. Frankfurt
7. San Francisco
8. Copenhagen
9. Lyon
10. Hamburg
11. Berlin
12. Toronto
13. Stuttgart
14. London
15. Munich
16. Milan
17. Stockholm
18. Hong Kong
19. Melbourne
20. Tokyo
21. Rome
22. Kyoto
23. Washington DC
24. Shanghai
25. Düsseldorf
26. Barcelona
27. Seoul
28. Sydney
29. Prague
30. Philadelphia

Innovation Cities™ Americas Index Top 15.

1. Boston
2. New York
3. San Francisco
4. Toronto
5. Washington DC
6. Philadelphia
7. Montréal
8. Seattle
9. Austin
10. Minneapolis-St Paul
11. Chicago
12. Ann Arbor
13. Los Angeles
14. Calgary
15. Raleigh-Durham

Innovation Cities™ Asia Index Top 20.

1. Hong Kong
2. Melbourne
3. Tokyo
4. Kyoto
5. Shanghai
6. Seoul
7. Sydney
8. Singapore
9. Wellington
10. Auckland
11. Fukoaka
12. Beijing
13. Kobe
14. Osaka
15. Kuala Lumpur
16. Mumbai
17. Adelaide
18. Bangalore
19. Delhi
20. Shenzhen

Innovation Cities™ Europe Index Top 15.

1. Paris
2. Amsterdam
3. Vienna
4. Frankfurt
5. Copenhagen
6. Lyon
7. Hamburg
8. Berlin
9. Stuttgart
10. London
11. Munich
12. Milan
13. Stockholm
14. Rome
15. Düsseldorf

Innovation Cities™ Emerging Index Top 12.

1. Abu Dhabi
2. Dubai
3. Cape Town
4. Jeddah
5. Casablanca
6. Doha
7. Riyadh
8. Kuwait City
9. Kiev
10. Manama
11. Johannesburg
12. Minsk

Innovation Cities™ Index: Top 30 Nexus cities 3 factor scores

Rank City Country Index Score Cultural Assets Human Infrastructure Networked Markets
1 Boston United States 29 9 10 10
2 Paris France 29 10 9 10
3 Amsterdam Netherlands 28 9 9 10
4 Vienna Austria 28 10 10 8
5 New York United States 28 9 9 10
6 Frankfurt Germany 27 8 9 10
7 San Francisco United States 27 8 10 9
8 Copenhagen Denmark 27 9 9 9
9 Lyon France 27 9 8 10
10 Hamburg Germany 27 9 9 9
11 Berlin Germany 26 8 8 10
12 Toronto Canada 26 9 8 9
13 Stuttgart Germany 26 8 9 9
14 London United Kingdom 26 9 8 9
15 Munich Germany 26 8 9 9
16 Milan Italy 26 9 8 9
17 Stockholm Sweden 25 8 8 9
18 Hong Kong Hong Kong 25 7 9 9
19 Melbourne Australia 25 9 9 7
20 Tokyo Japan 25 8 8 9
21 Rome Italy 25 9 7 9
22 Kyoto Japan 25 8 8 9
23 Washington DC United States 25 8 8 9
24 Shanghai China 25 7 8 10
25 Düsseldorf Germany 25 7 9 9
26 Barcelona Spain 24 9 8 7
27 Seoul Korea, South 24 7 9 8
28 Sydney Australia 24 8 8 8
29 Prague Czech Republic 24 8 8 8
30 Philadelphia United States 24 7 8 9

You should know (Disclaimer)

The Innovation Cities Indexes (the “Indexes”) are for information purposes only and are intended for as a general purpose ranking measuring the relative importance of cities to the innovation economy. Practise in this area is continually changing and emerging, so the methodologies and processes change from year to year, and the availability of data changes from city to city.

While the Indexes have been prepared based upon the best available information, they are provided on an “as-is” basis, and 2thinknow accepts no responsibility/liability for the validity/accuracy (or otherwise) of the resources/data used to compile the Indexes. In no event will 2thinknow be liable to for any decision made or action taken in reliance of the results obtained through the use of, or the information and/or data contained in or provided by, the Indexes.

2thinknow and its representatives make no representations or warranties with respect to the Indexes, and disclaim all express, implied and statutory warranties of any kind, including, but not limited to, representations and implied warranties of quality, accuracy, timeliness, completeness, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.

Note: Those seeking more detailed data of comparative city performance should purchase City Benchmarking Data from 2thinknow, and create indexes tailored to their specific circumstances.

1 Boston
2 New York
3 San Francisco
4 Toronto
5 Washington DC
6 Philadelphia
7 Montréal
8 Seattle
9 Austin
10 Minneapolis-St Paul
11 Chicago
12 Ann Arbor
13 Los Angeles
14 Calgary
15 Raleigh-Durham
16 Québec
17 Vancouver
18 Springfield
19 Pittsburgh
20 Portland
21 Dallas-Fort Worth
22 Denver
23 Baltimore
24 São Paulo
25 Edmonton
26 Buenos Aires
27 Atlanta