Innovation isn’t easy. Case in point, your kids have heard of Netflix and Facebook, but will give you a blank look if you talk about Blockbuster or MySpace, two companies routinely listed among the biggest to fail specifically because they didn’t innovate. So when we say Detroit just ranked among the most innovative on Earth, it’s — with apologies to Ron Burgundy and the movie “Anchorman” — kind of a big deal.
The Australian data research company 2thinknow, which crunches numbers from cities across the globe, released its 11th annual Innovation Cities Index rankings of the world’s 500 most innovative cities this month. Cities that innovate more tend to bring in more revenue, create more jobs and become the best places to invest, the company said in a release. The index is meant to measure how well a city creates an environment that encourages innovation. It uses more than 160 indicators based on comparative data sold to corporations.
According to the company, Detroit is the most innovative in Michigan and made the Top 100 list around the world (it followed Sao Paulo, Brazil). Its overall ranking was No. 80 on the list. Ann Arbor also made the list, at No. 114, along with Grand Rapids, at No. 183. Not bad for the entire world.
This year, Tokyo, Japan — dubbed the “robot capital” of the world — became the first Asian city to be named most innovative on Earth. Tokyo proved it had a clear direction by embracing “smart technology change” to lead innovation, the authors found. It also emerged as a leader in two sectors that will be key to the future: robotics and 3D manufacturing.
“What really surprised us this year, was the resurgence of Tokyo, moving up to eclipse rival cities like Boston,” Christopher Hire, the company’s director data, said in a release.
He added: “While it was close between London and Tokyo, support of new technologies gave it to Tokyo based on 2018 trends, although this could change in 2019.”San Francisco, thanks in large part to the flourishing tech industries in Silicon Valley, was named the most innovative city in America and ranked third overall. New York City and Los Angeles also cracked the top five overall, claiming the fourth and fifth spots behind No. 2 London.
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