It is fascinating how you could find new interesting trends when you are following discussions on the Internet. I was intrigued when I read Robert Scoble’s comment on , titled “Where In The World is Innovation” Robert writes:
“In the past few years I’ve traveled the world. I’m having a tougher and tougher time telling where the Valley ends anymore. I find the same kind of innovation in Tel Aviv, Shenzhen, Barcelona, Vancouver that I find in San Francisco (which technically is not in the valley). I just find less of it and less of a culture of people who know what Twitter is (or, I guess, a better example now that Twitter is on the BBC, would be Friendfeed). Here we celebrate new companies and new ideas. That rarely happens elsewhere in the world. It’s why entrepreneurs tell me that they still want to move here. But, since not everyone can move they are recreating what we have in their own back yards and I think that’s a great thing. It ensures I’ll still need to hop on a plane to see the latest cool thing.”
Where do you think that the innovation hubs will be located in the future? I maintain that America will have a strong position in the future if the Americans will continue on the same line as I wrote about in my post, Five Reasons Why America Is A Great Place To Run A Business.
As usual, it could be difficult to pinpoint the exact position of the clusters because of problems with analysing the data. “An American in France” comments in a succinct way:
“One can look at this information too hard and not see the woods because of the trees. Also, if there is unreliable data, you may as well forget it.”
I believe that many agree with Om Malik regarding his statement that Silicon Valley is a unique place in the world, but at the same time a number of people would have views on how the “Innovation Heat Map” is crafted by McKinsey and the World Economic Forum.
“Nowhere but in Silicon Valley is it OK to fail. More importantly, nowhere on the planet can you actually find a place to think as “freely” as Silicon Valley. I speak from personal experience, and you might disagree. I think Silicon Valley is un-replicable.” (Gigaom.com, March 2, 2009.)
Matthias Lüfkens of the World Economic Forum informs about an interactive innovation heatmap. On this map you could find that the London is on the top of the “state of cluster development / centres of commerce index values” list, following by New York, Tokyo, Chicago and Hong Kong.
One might well wonder why India seems not to appear on the map. Another thing that we could consider is how strong the correlation should be between patents and large clusters. You could also wonder what has happened since 2006, which is what the heat map displays. Since then, which areas are developing and which are stagnating?
As an attempt to continue the thread and exchange of views on the this topic, I want to end with an excerpt from Paul Graham’s essay, Can You Buy a Silicon Valley? Maybe:
“For the price of a football stadium, any town that was decent to live in could make itself one of the biggest startup hubs in the world.”
What’s more, it wouldn’t take very long. You could probably do it in five years. During the term of one mayor. And it would get easier over time, because the more startups you had in town, the less it would take to get new ones to move there. By the time you had a thousand startups in town, the VCs wouldn’t be trying so hard to get them to move to Silicon Valley; instead they’d be opening local offices. Then you’d really be in good shape. Have started a self-sustaining chain reaction like the one that drives the Valley.”
* * * * *
About the Author: Martin Lindeskog is a “trader in matter & spirit” and a small business entrepreneur in Gothenburg, Sweden. He is a board member of the Swedish National Association of Purchasing and Logistics (Silf, Western Region). Martin also writes a long-standing blog called Ego and will soon start a new series of interviews for his podcasting show on the Solid Vox network.