BUSINESS

The World's Most Inventive Cities: Forbes

07/16/2013 12:35 pm ET
Getty

FORBES:

Tiny, biodegradable implants known as Bioneedles may soon replace the syringe, vial and needle trifecta as the standard delivery mechanism for vaccines.

If they are as clean, cheap and reliable as many medical researchers believe, Bioneedles will reduce hepatitis and HIV infection and vaccinate 25 million more children worldwide.

This is one of many massively promising technologies pioneered in the city of Eindhoven, a mid-sized city located in the southern region of the Netherlands.

Eindhoven is hands-down the most inventive city in the world based on one of the most commonly used metrics for mapping the geography of innovation, which is called “patent intensity.”

More specifically, Eindhoven produced 22.6 patents for every 10,000 residents, making it the world’s most inventive city, according to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development.

To put this in perspective, San Diego, which claimed the second spot on the list, produces only 8.9 patents for every 10,000 residents.

The OECD tracks patent applications for more than 250 cities around the world under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, an international system that allows inventors to apply for patent protection in up to 117 countries simultaneously through a single application process.

Based on the total number of patent applications for every 10,000 residents in a metropolitan area, the world’s 15 most inventive cities are concentrated in northern Europe and the United States.

Eindhoven is emblematic of the “knowledge economy” and has the awards to prove it.

For several years now, the Intelligent Community Forum has ranked Eindhoven as one of the world’s most intelligent communities for several consecutive years. In 2011, Eindhoven claimed the top spot in ICF’s annual rankings.

More from Forbes:

Oddly, not a single Japanese city ranks in the world’s 15 most inventive cities, which is dominated by cities in the United States (six cities on the list), Germany (three cities on the list) and Sweden (three cities on the list).

While all three of Sweden’s three most populated cities are on the list of the top 15 most inventive cities, the smallest of those three cities is the highest on the list.

The city of Malmö in southern Sweden ranks fourth on the list of cities with the most patent applications per 10,000 residents.

Malmo is young with nearly half of its population under the age of 35. It is also diverse, boasting the highest proportion of foreign-born residents of any city in Sweden.

Click through the slideshow to see the world's top five most inventive cities. You can see the full list at Forbes.

World's Most Inventive Cities
Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS