Innovation Cities™ Indexes


The Innovation Cities™ Index is the world’s largest, longest-running ranking of cities as innovation economies. Published since 2007 by 2thinknow.

The index is designed to measure what makes a city innovative (what 2thinknow call Pre-Conditions) across 31 segments of a full well-rounded city economy. This makes the Index unique, as it's the only broad-based index (not just technology for example).

Improvements in the Index rankings tend to indicate early stage economic improvement in cities.

Declines can tend to indicate future economic decline. This is not hard and fast but is something we are working towards.

500 Cities

Featuring all major global cities balanced across regions, makes this the world's largest and most diverse city index.

10 Years on

Available since 2007, and every year 2thinknow analysts improve the data, analysis, rankings and classifications.

4 Key Regions

Each year since 2009, 2thinknow publish 4 regional indexes, as well as the headline global index, to measure regional competing cities.

Classification of Cities Rise or Decline as Economies

Within the Innovation Cities™ Index, each of the featured cities are classified into 4 performance bands for their innovation pre-conditions.

Upstart*, cities moving towards being globally competitive.

* Note ‘Upstart’ now includes ‘Influencer’ cities since 2016.

Node, globally competitive cities.

Hub, challenger cities, innovating in key segments.

Nexus, cities at the top few percentage globally.

All cities outside this are ‘Unclassified’.

Cities measured as urban innovation economies for innovation pre-conditions in each segment.

The first Index was published by 2thinknow in 2007 and there are now 500 cities in current Index. Indexes have been featured in over 10,000 media articles globally and posts in over 100 languages.

Our analysis is different and enlightening as it defines based on cities' potential for creation, implementation and communication of ideas in their urban economies.

Customers who have trusted 2thinknow data:

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Structured Methodology : You Can Use For All Purposes

Innovation pre-conditions are based on a 3 factor score aligned to process of innovation -- turning ideas into implemented and communicated innovations. The 3 factor scores are derived from consulting 162 indicators with benchmark scores. Being a broad-based index, these indicators cover all 31 industry segments within a major city. These in turn, are derived from 1200 data point variables selected from 2thinknow's City Benchmarking Data. This is termed the Innovation Cities™ Framework, the largest of it's kind, established in 2007, expanded in 2010.

Our commercial quality data is sold to business and others for investment decisions, and also used in the Index.

Additionally, learn more about Classifications, Benchmark Scores, Data Types and Geographic Data.