11/11/2011 12:46 pm ET Updated Jan 11, 2012

The 15 Most Creative States

The United States is the most innovative nation on earth, with over 42 percent (by my estimate) of all significant "firsts" of the modern era, from integrated circuits in silicon chips to latex condoms. Its achievements, along with a broad selection of the other 58 percent originating elsewhere, are chronicled in my "Robertson's Book of Firsts" [$35, Bloomsbury USA]. But a question I was not able to address in the book was "Which states yielded the most inventions and cultural landmarks?" So I have done the calculations, and here is my list of the 15 most innovative states.

Not surprisingly, the older, more urbanized states tend to rate higher than the more recently settled states with lower populations or a predominately rural economy. These latter have lots of other feats of which to be proud in their contribution to the rich tapestry of Americana, but I regard the top 15 as pretty remarkable places. The examples I have given of their ingenuity, vision and application are necessarily limited by space; there are masses more to be found in my book. But if you want to add your own favorites, do so in the comments. I will enjoy hearing from you.