Photo: Christian Kober/Corbis
Looking for the next Silicon Valley? You’re not alone. With growth slowing or stagnant in economies around the world, executives, entrepreneurs, and investors are on the hunt for hotbeds of original thinking and new-business creation, in search of people and startups that might give their own companies and portfolios a competitive edge.
The Intelligent Community Forum, a non-profit think tank, ranked Eindhoven’s tech neighbourhood (dubbed Brainport) the world’s smartest region in 2011. The one-square-kilometre area is home to more than 100 companies and institutes and some 8,000 researchers, developers, and entrepreneurs who churn out nearly 50% of all Dutch patent applications (link: http://www.intelligentcommunity.org/eindhoven) .
In 2013, Forbes declared Eindhoven to be “hands-down the most inventive city in the world.” According to data compiled by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, Eindhoven has the highest patent density in the world. Eindhoven produces 22.6 patents per 100,000 residents, more than any other high-tech region – like Cambridge, Munich, Boston or Silicon Valley. “This city lives tech,” Bert-Jan Woertman, the marketing director at Eindhoven’s High Tech Campus, told us. “We live, breathe, and eat hardware for breakfast.”
Fortune scoured the globe for cities that share the San Francisco Bay Area’s potent combination of creativity and capitalism. It started with data from the Global Innovation Index (co-published by Insead and the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization), which ranks countries based on a number of factors, including educational institutions and digital infrastructure. Crucially, the index also looks at results — it essentially assigns extra credit to countries whose companies and institutions push their products and ideas out into the world.
It then looked closely at the cities and communities within the top countries that were leading the charge on innovation — the places that are especially hospitable to companies seeking the mix of talent, curiosity, and risk taking that leads to game-changing new products and services.
Fortune named Eindhoven (link: http://fortune.com/2012/09/19/7-best-new-global-cities-for-startups/) one of the seven cities with the quality to grow into a second Silicon Valley.