Phoenix ranked 20th most innovative city in the Americas in new report

An April report from Hickey and Associates, a global consulting firm, ranked Phoenix 20th in the Americas and 58th globally on a list of top innovative cities in the world.

The Global Innovation Hubs Report is a first from Hickey and Associates, which was founded in 1986 and now touts itself as a global leader in integrated site location and workforce services.

The firm said Phoenix scored highly based on its strength in medical science research and development. The report also took into account the city’s partnerships with state universities, largely Arizona State University, its workforce development efforts and its business-friendly regulatory environment.

“While our report reaffirms the dominance of certain markets such as Boston, San Francisco and New York as being hubs of innovation and growth, our research also identified markets not traditionally viewed as Innovation Hubs,” said Jason Hickey, president of Hickey and Associates, in a press release.

“By analyzing so many different data points, we were able to assess factors such as patent applications per capita, number of top universities and venture capital funding that allowed us to sort through the data to identify true hubs of innovation.”

Phoenix ranked 14th globally among cities leading the medical science industry. San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles topped the list, which also included locations in Europe, Israel, Australia and Canada.

“Dealing with the science of health maintenance and the prevention and treatment of disease, the medical science industry is a major sector for advanced efforts of innovation,” the report said. “The medical science industry has consistently proven to be one of the most important fields when it comes to financial growth in a city. The potential impact of innovative scientific research and technological developments within the industry is vital to cities that desire to become a global hub.”

Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Beijing were listed as the top five innovation hubs overall.

The report also ranks the different markets by factors including patents, research and investment figures, education and population demographics to see which cities are “innovating for the future.”

Hickey and Associates identified four major characteristics that make a city a Global Innovation Hub: talent magnets, characteristics that attract a young, diverse and vibrant workforce and offer a “good live/work/play culture”; innovative and transformative, usually having a high number of startups and new patents concentrated in a small area; learning and collaborative ecosystems, usually research-focused cities linked with universities and other institutions that encourage innovation and knowledge-sharing; and venture capital hotbeds, areas that attract a lot of investors.

“What our findings underline is that international corporations need to look at factors other than simply cost when considering locations for business expansion,” Hickey said. “The hubs and clusters of innovation that we have identified will drive economic growth regionally, nationally and internationally in the next few decades.”

Graham Bosch

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