André Andonian, Christoph Loos, and Luiz Pires, McKinsey & Company
26 February 2009
The global recession is commanding most of the attention of business executives and government leaders. But they should not lose sight of innovation: managers know that the future of their businesses depend on it, and government leaders understand that the long-term growth prospects of cities and nations are tied to it. Even—perhaps especially—in times of economic turbulence, innovation remains the most important differentiator separating economic winners from also-rans.
McKinsey has partnered with the World Economic Forum to create an “Innovation Heat Map,” by identifying factors that are common to successful innovation hubs. As part of this effort, we have examined the evolution of hundreds of such clusters around the world and analyzed over 700 variables, including those driving innovation (business environment, government and regulation, human capital, infrastructure, and local demand) along with proxies for innovation output (for example, economic value added, journal publications, patent applications) to identify trends among the success stories. In the process, we have found patterns that suggest the critical ingredients required to grow, nurture, and sustain innovation hubs. At the same time, we have compiled thousands of data points that may be used to identify bottlenecks and benchmark the performance of cities, regions, and countries by measuring how they are evolving.