A big report released Wednesday shows how governments around the world can encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.
The first ever CITIE report has been co-authored by UK innovation charity Nesta, management consultancy Accenture and Catapult!, the UK government initiative to encourage innovation.
As part of the report, they have ranked what they think are the 5 best cities in the world right now for government support of entrepreneurs. The report takes into account things like regulation, access to data, access to investment and central strategy.
Surprisingly, San Francisco doesn’t make the cut. Crucially, the report only looks at government-linked initiatives and factors, not private sector activity.
Strengths: Government strategy, data
Weaknesses: Digital government, investment
Sometimes the medium-sized cities are more capable of experimenting and developing the right policy conditions for innovation and entrepreneurship to flourish.
The appointment of the city's first chief technology officer (CTO) in 2014 is increasing the momentum to break down silos and support the co-ordination of citywide innovation projects.
Amsterdam's ambition to reinvent how the city hall delivers services and engages with its residents can also be seen in the Amsterdam Smart City initiative.
Strengths: Access to data, advocating technology through events like Mobile World Congress
Weaknesses: Regulation, investment
In the 1990s (Barcelona) developed one of the first city Innovation Districts - [email protected] The city's Office for Economic Growth has estimated that of 16 pilot projects supported by [email protected], 90 per cent have gone on to develop a business based on their pilot. The city is now building on this legacy by actively promoting itself as an urban playground for experimentation by entrepreneurs.
'A notable area of weakness is in its role as Regulator, where Barcelona scores very poorly. The 2014 ban on Uber by a judge in Madrid and the fining of Airbnb by the Government of Catalonia for its breach of local laws make it challenging for Barcelona to absorb disruptive business models into the fabric of the city.
Strengths: Access to data, investment
Helsinki had the most consistent profile of any of the top 5, with a particular strength in the infrastructure roles of Host, Investor and Connector, where it was the number one performer.
Helsinki's vision of mobility on demand, a fully integrated public and private transport 'one click' solution, carries the scale of ambition you would more typically expect from a tech startup and is defining mobility as a service agenda globally. This mobility ambition is in part enabled by its high score as Datavore, making transport data openly available to entrepreneurs to develop new service offerings.
'Although Helsinki's performance in the Openness roles of Regulator, Advocate and Customer are respectable, this is the area where there is most room for improvement for next year.
Strengths: Investment, promotion of technology and entrepreneurship,
Weaknesses: Digital government
London was a consistently strong performer across all areas of analysis, and its silver medal is well deserved.
But at the margin, London lacks some of the internal leadership and digital capability. For example, London doesn't have functions like a chief technology or digital officer or an innovation unit, and there is no consistent digital channel for Londoners to interact with services, which are split across different boroughs.
Nevertheless, the recent Smart London Plan is a positive step, and provides a platform to build the kind of capability that London will need if it wants to compete for top spot next year.
Strength: Government strategy, advocate for technology
One of ts key differentiators is the strength and long standing of leadership from the centre. New York City prioritised innovation and entrepreneurship earlier than most other comparable cities, and has taken an extremely active stance towards its startup and tech communities over the last few years.
It provides support for local startups across a wide range of activities from funding and branding to community building and skills provision. And it has also built a first-class internal capability to deploy technology and exploit data in the services it delivers to citizens.
New York City's one area of relative weakness is in the role of Regulator, where it is held back by ongoing struggles to find the best way to accommodate the new business models of short lets and ride-sharing as characterised by companies such as Airbnb. This is a hard thing to get right, but cities such as Amsterdam have shown that, with the right stakeholder engagement, it can be done.