World’s Top 10 Innovation Hubs

The U.S. and China remain leaders among the world’s innovation hubs, according to a new report from KPMG.

Though other countries have made significant strides in innovation development, the U.S. and China continue as the most promising markets for technology breakthroughs that have global impact, according to KPMG’s 2017 global technology innovation report.

Given their country ranking, it’s not surprising that cities in the U.S. and China are expected to make up six of the Top 10 innovation hubs, outside of Silicon Valley/San Francisco, over the next four years.

“What we have seen emerge over time is the result of countries and cities striving to replicate and build on the Silicon Valley tech innovation blueprint, and their increasing degree of success,” said Tim Zanni Global and U.S. Chair, KPMG Technology, Media and Telecommunications practice. “One can debate whether or not replicating Silicon Valley is possible, but the benefits of the effort are undeniable.”

The report highlights key findings from a survey of more than 800 technology industry business leaders globally about technology innovation, leadership and market trends.

Leading Countries

Having the U.S. and China at the top is consistent with earlier KPMG surveys. India placed third globally for the second year in a row, while the U.K. jumped significantly in the global rankings into the fourth spot. South Korea also climbed, placing 5th globally and moving ahead of Japan.

Leading Cities

Asked which three cities will emerge to rival Silicon Valley/San Francisco over the next four years, the survey revealed numerous rising hubs, as Berlin; Washington, DC; Chicago and Boston joined the Top 10 (see image below).

innovation hubs


Innovation No Longer Just In R&D

What’s fueling the spread of technology innovation development? According to Zanni in KPMG’s report: growing ecosystems as tech innovation has spread across all industries.

Tech industry business leaders are also seeing technology innovation development spread within companies. Respondents said innovation has expanded beyond traditional corporate R&D. In this year’s survey, more respondents said that organizations emphasize and nurture innovation at the strategic planning stage than any other company functions, including IT and R&D.

Strategic planning, business units, think tank/incubator, IT and the innovation committee all were listed ahead of research and development as places where innovation is spotted and nurtured in companies. While the U.S. findings were similar with the exception of “corporate development” in the top three, China respondents listed the IT and R&D organizations as the top two.

“These findings confirm what we’ve been hearing from our clients and seeing in the market — that innovation is a strategic business imperative for many organizations,” said Zanni.

Innovation Visionaries

Respondents were also asked to name the top global technology innovation visionary. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk topped the list, with Apple CEO Tim Cook second, followed by Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, Alphabet CEO Larry Page and Google CEO Sundar Pichai who tied for third. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stood alone in the 6th spot, with Bill Gates and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tied for 7th, followed by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos 9th.

The report captures the findings of a September – November 2016 survey of 841 business executives globally (including 168 U.S.) from companies, venture capital firms, and angel investors that focus on technology.