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Home of ‘next’ Apple: London tops New York, Tokyo for innovation

Home of ‘next’ Apple: London tops New York, Tokyo for innovation

London extended its lead over New York and a resurgent Tokyo to be named the world’s most innovative city in 2016-2017 in the 10th annual Innovation Cities Index, released by global innovation agency 2thinknow in Melbourne today.

The top three cities overcame previous winner Silicon Valley (San Francisco-San Jose) and twice winner, Boston. Rounding out the top ten cities globally, were rising cities Los Angeles, Singapore, and Toronto, followed by Paris and Vienna.


“London’s clear repeat victory indicates a strong view of innovation and focus on observation of democracy, in embracing the results of ‘Brexit’ – showcasing the importance of an orderly acceptance of the results of democratic process, and a new British ‘stiff upper lip’ resilience to unprecedented change,” Director Data at 2thinknow, Christopher Hire stated.

The index classified 500 cities into four bands for innovation based on scores derived from 162 indicators for measuring conditions conducive to creating innovation in a city. The top band was ‘Nexus’ cities of which there were 53 cities, and there were 125 ‘Hub’ cities in the next band. Next, 260 cities were in the next globally competitive ‘Node’ category. After the classification process, the cities are ranked by the analysts.

“This year innovation can come from more locations than ever, due to digital cities a broader number of cities score within the second ‘Hub’ classification. Meaning our data and analysis found greater competition between cities beneath the top few percent of ‘Leadership’ Cities which have separated from the pack. Innovation is more spikey with massive variations within nations and regions.”


“The good news is that, garage innovators have a better chance than ever to send their ideas global from the top Nexus and Hub cities. Like Apple did, starting in their garage.”

Nine of the top Nexus cities were in Asia, including Seoul (11), Sydney (14), Beijing (30) and Osaka (50). In North America, Dallas-Ft. Worth (16) and Atlanta (18) improved dramatically in ranking, and ten more North American cities replaced European cities this year. Fast-rising top-ranked cities were Barcelona (13), Dallas-Ft.Worth (16), Houston (22), Madrid (23), Beijing (30) and Denver (42).

Another key observation in the analysis was ‘Recovery cities’, which was shown in the quick rise of cities such as Detroit and Athens, Greece (climbing 223 places) based on renewed economic activity.
The Index is published by commercial data provider 2thinknow every year since 2007 to measure each cities pre-conditions for innovation.

Behind the index is the analyst’s insight that cities with more innovation will have higher economic output, and be the best destinations to invest in commercial product, service or social innovation without a specific industry focus.

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