Innovation Cities

Noticed this study today about the top innovation cities worldwide. Couldn’t find out much about methodology or data used without buying the report, so I can’t vouch for the results. I found it interesting, though, to see Berlin scoring rank 14 – not bad by any means, even though of course the local in me suffers a bit of a narcissistic disappointment (kidding!). What surprised me, though, was that Frankfurt and Munich scored higher. (Boston? Sure. New York? Absolutely. Hamburg? Potentially.) So, what does it tell us?

According to the executive summary, the study is “based on basic factors of health, wealth, population, geography”, as well as a number of global trends as well as indices of sorts. That’s perfectly legitimate. And it may help understand things like the economic influence of a well-developed creative industry, or something.

What it doesn’t capture at all, of course, are the soft factors that really make a city a creative environment, or provide a platform for true creativity. Or the early stages of a nascent creative industry (not even to speak of culture), as these early trends wouldn’t register in the criteria and indices applied here.

So that might explain Munich and Frankfurt – large agencies, well-funded creative industries. But it certainly doesn’t explain Berlin’s ranking on this list. Would it be about industry, Berlin should (gut feeling alert!) way lower. In terms of innovation, it feels like it should rank way higher. (Yes, I just balanced fuzzy indices against gut feeling: there you go.)

Something tells me, though, that whoever bases his actions (or strategy, or anything really) on this kind of ranking probably is somewhat late to the game anyway. That said, I like ratings. So keep ’em coming.

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