- Boston is the top global city for innovation, according to a new report from consulting firm Hickey & Associates that evaluates cities on their fostering of key industries and location value. San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and Beijing rounded out the top five.
- Among the major factors that the report identifies are a young and growing “millennial” population, a high concentration and frequency of startups and patents, a collaborative ecosystem with universities and a high level of venture capital investment.
- "What our findings underline is that international corporations need to look at factors other than simply cost when considering locations for business expansion,” said Jason Hickey, President of Hickey & Associates, in a statement.
Many of the top cities are traditional tech and startup hubs, like Boston and San Francisco, but the Hickey & Associates report did identify some unconventional choices. Hartford, CT; Minneapolis and Cedar Rapids, MI were all in the top 25 U.S. cities, despite being non-traditional economic centers. The firm also ranked cities around specific industries: Boston, unsurprisingly, ranked as the top city for biotechnology, Tokyo was top for information communication technology, and San Francisco led for medical science.
The report drew on thousands of data points, including R&D spending, utility reliability, education rate, labor force growth and millennial population. The goal was to identify broader characteristics that support an active business environment, beyond simply cost and proximity to other businesses. The cities in the report would “drive economic growth regionally, nationally and internationally in the next few decades," the firm said.
Major tech companies have been looking beyond the traditional coastal markets as they expand. Austin, TX, for example, landed an expanded Apple campus and a technology development center from the U.S. Army. Apple has also said it would expand in Pittsburgh and Boulder, CO in the coming years. A Cushman & Wakefield report released last fall even identified Provo, UT as North America’s fastest-growing tech employment market since 2010.